The infighting within the cellular operators association is showing no signs of let-up, with newcomer Reliance Jio deciding not to participate in COAI’s quarterly executive committee meeting held late last week. Jio decided against attending the November 11 meet on the ground that its participation was possible only once the association re-hauls its proportionate voting right rules that is currently based on revenue of member companies.
Sources said Jio wrote to COAI on the issue ahead of the meeting and decided to stay away in absence of a favourable response to its demand.
When contacted, COAI Director General Rajan Mathews confirmed that Jio representatives did not attend the meeting.
“Unfortunately, Jio did not attend the meet. However, all other members were present. The issue was also discussed at the executive committee and other members expressed satisfaction with the functioning of COAI and its voting norms. They unanimously agreed that there is no need for changing voting rules,” Mathews told PTI.
The meeting also discussed matters pertaining to electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) awareness programme, GST and progress in cell tower rollout, among others.
In September, Reliance Jio, also a member of the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), demanded a revamp of the industry body’s voting rules alleging that they only served “vested interests” of three incumbent dominant operators (IDOs) even as the association hit back at that point, dubbing Reliance Jio as a back door operator (BDO).
Jio had also faulted COAI’s proportionate voting rules as “skewed” in favour of the dominant operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — saying it gave them “the absolute control to influence any or all of the decisions of COAI”, given that the trio enjoyed 68 per cent of the total votes.
COAI members include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Reliance Jio and Telenor. Senior representatives from all member companies come together once every quarter for the executive committee meeting to review the progress of the association.