Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani will share the stage with other telecom czars Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel and Kumar Mangalam Birla of Idea Cellular at the India Mobile Congress here on Wednesday. According to the website of the three-day event, which starts from September 27, Vodafone Chief Vittorio Colao will not be present in person, but will join other telecom leaders for the inaugural session through video link.
“Telecom Minister (Manoj Sinha), Law and IT Minister (Ravi Shankar Prasad) and Railways Minister (Piyush Goyal) will join us for the inaugural session. Heads of major telecom companies will be present in the session. We will connect with Vittorio (Colao) over satellite,” industry body COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI. He said Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan and Electronics and IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney will also be part of the session.
As per the agenda on the website, Ambani will deliver the opening speech and Mittal is one of the speakers. Reliance Jio, which entered the telecom market about a year ago, has been at loggerheads with older telecom players — Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone — over multiple issues which have led to various litigations in the court.
Entry of Jio has triggered a tariff war in the industry, which has led to reduction in earnings of the old telecom operators. The older players have knocked on the door of the government seeking relief for the debt ridden industry. The latest bone of contention between the new entrant and established players is reduction in mobile call connection charges. Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had been demanding increase in mobile interconnect usage charge (IUC) to about 30-36 paise from 14 paise per minute and Jio has been demanding to do away with it altogether.
Regulator Trai decided to bring down the charges to 6 paise per minute from October 1 and nil from January 2020. Mathews said eight embassies, including those of the US, the UK, Finland and Germany, are participating in the event and close to 150 foreign delegates have confirmed their participation.
“The Indian Cellular Association has joined us for this event. We will get to see their members like Nokia, Vivo, Oppo, Huawei showcase their technologies,” Mathews added. The event, he further said, will be open to the public, but they will need to register for the same.