It seems the battle lines between COAI and Reliance Jio have hardened further, with the industry body on Monday responding strongly against the latter’s charge that it is a mouthpiece of the incumbents — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea. It also said the “virulent tenor” of protest by Jio shows that its intention is to “sideline” genuine issues facing the telecom industry.
Stating that it stands by the February 20 press release, COAI attacked Jio saying that every time it has taken up an issue on which the RIL subsidiary disagrees, the operator has tried to malign the association’s reputation.
In a letter to Jio, COAI said its claim that the association acted arbitrarily, discriminatory or as the mouthpiece of some members is “misconceived”.
“As a core members, Jio is well aware that COAI rules provide that its public positions are formulated based on views of the majority of its members. It was stated that members were unanimous in supporting the release with the exception of Jio,” it added.
COAI also charged Jio for batting on behalf of the regulator, Trai. “It is not surprising to note that RJIL has sought to justify and provide rationale for the changes made by the Trai in the TTO where the Trai itself has not provided sufficient reasoning,” COAI said.
On February 20, COAI said in a statement that Trai’s regulations on predatory pricing and significant market power (SMP) benefit a particular operator and has “deeply victimised” the industry.
In its letter to Jio, COAI blamed the operator for the association’s inability to comment on Trai’s February 2017 consultation paper on predatory pricing. “COAI had prepared a response on the consultation paper that was shared with its members, including RJIL. However, it was not submitted to the Trai inter alia at RJIL’s request,” it claimed.
Threatening Jio with legal action, COAI advised the operator to withdraw its statements against the association and its director general, Rajan S Mathews. It also advised the operator to refrain from such acts in the future.