In a big setback for Reliance Jio, the Delhi High Court has set aside CCI’s probe order against leading telecom companies for allegedly trying to block the entry of Mukesh Ambani-led company. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had ordered a detailed probe against Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular and industry body COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) after a complaint was filed against them for allegedly denying network connectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio.
The regulator had decided to investigate allegations of unfair business practices made against the incumbent telecom players. The regulator was also to examine the overall conduct of the COAI, agencies reported. It was a case where the watchdog had found prima-facie evidence of competition norms violations and referred it to the DG for a detailed probe. Idea Cellular earlier had moved the Bombay High Court and filed a petition against the probe order in June.
Last year, Reliance Jio stormed into the Indian telecom market — the second largest market globally with 1.2 billion subscribers — with disruptive offerings and has since been at loggerheads with the incumbent operators. While Jio accuses incumbent telecom players for denying network connectivity, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular alleges that the Mukesh Ambani-led company is indulging in predatory pricing ways.
On Wednesday, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decision to cut down interconnect usage charge (IUC) by more than half to 6 paise gave a massive boost to Reliance Jio, which other operators alleged was going benefit only one mobile operator.