Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio today asserted that the margins in the telecom sector remain “healthy” even as it accused the big three operators of “cartelisation”. In a presentation to the inter-ministerial group, Jio said smaller operators are in financial distress because of actions of incumbent ones such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. “… These three are now cartelising and seeking relief by leveraging the problems of smaller operators,” Jio claimed. It squarely blamed industry body COAI for the “state of the sector” and alleged that the “current stress can be equally attributed to COAI’s anti-competitive actions over the years”. Jio further said the existing telecom operators are not investing in technology and instead passing the blame to the new operator for the sector’s problems. “Incumbent operators that have tried to block the entry of the new operator and prevented launch of new technologies are now passing the blame and seeking relief,” it added. Interestingly, Jio has sought repayment of deferred payment liability for spectrum at a time when the other operators are unified in demanding that the period of repayment should in fact be extended to 20 years, the life of the spectrum.