Telcos agree to talk reasonable interconnect needs with Reliance Jio  

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New Delhi | Updated: September 9, 2016 8:03:08 PM

As regulator Trai called the warring telecos to discuss contentious interconnect issue, cellular operators body COAI said incumbent players have agreed to discuss and negotiate "reasonable" points of connectivity that can be provided to entrant Reliance Jio.

telcosReliance Jio and existing operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea met telecom regulator Trai today to discuss the issue of network interconnection. (PTI)

As regulator Trai called the warring telecos to discuss contentious interconnect issue, cellular operators body COAI today said incumbent players have agreed to discuss and negotiate “reasonable” points of connectivity that can be provided to entrant Reliance Jio.

Reliance Jio and existing operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea met telecom regulator Trai today to discuss the issue of network interconnection.

COAI said the operators will now sit across the table one-on-one to negotiate the “reasonable” incremental capacity to be provided to Reliance Jio, and following an agreement will have 90 days to comply to the latter’s request for interconnection ports.

These bilateral negotiations on additional requirement by RJio will start in a couple of days, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said.

“It is definitely a progress…this is certainly breaking of the initial deadlock…expectations have been set and we hope this will set the basis of resolution,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the industry association, which on behalf of majority of its members (existing operators) has been leading the front in refusing additional interconnection points to Reliance Jio, was kept out of the meeting between telecom operators and sector regulator, purportedly at the insistence of Reliance Jio.

“What I understand from operators who attended the meeting was that there was a push by Trai that this is a bilateral discussion, both sides get together…talk about reasonable points of interconnect and capacity demands…and then both sides, based on reasonable needs, can come to an agreement on this,” Mathews said.

Mathews claimed that Trai has said that it will look into COAI’s contention that RJio was unleashing asymmetric voice traffic on others’ networks.

Reliance Jio has accused existing operators of not releasing sufficient number of interconnection ports to it, leading to large number of call drops on its network and creating inconvenience to its customers.

Existing operators, however, are contending that they cannot release more interconnect ports as their networks have come under stress due to surge in traffic following free voice call offer by the Mukesh Ambani-led company.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Board Member Mahendra Nahata has termed the company’s fight for interconnectivity as “fight for justice and fight for customers”. “…Not just Reliance Jio customers or Airtel or Vodafone but for all Indian customers,” Nahata said after a meeting with TRAI.

Mathews also said, “Everyone is trying to ensure that the consumer experience is maximised…But there ought to be reasonableness in terms of companies that are providing the service to ensure that they are not taken out of their investments,” he said.

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