Industry lobby COAI is scheduled to hold its quarterly executive committee meeting on November 11, but the contentious issue on voting rules raised by new-comer Reliance Jio has not been listed so far for discussion.
The meeting is held once every quarter and this time, up on the agenda are status updates on matters pertaining to electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) awareness programme, service quality, progress in tower construction and rollout of eKYC, among others.
“So far, no one has asked for it (the voting norms issue) to be included in the agenda for discussion. But if someone wants to raise it in the meeting, they are free to raise it, and it will be discussed by members,” Director-General Rajan S Mathews told PTI when asked if the meet would discuss Reliance Jio’s call for overhaul of COAI’s voting rules.
“Alternatively, members can write to the chair and ask for a particular issue to be included in the agenda.”
Mathews further said the inter-connect issue is also not listed for discussion as the matter is bilateral under the purview of Trai and necessary communications pertaining to it have been sent out by the industry body.
Last month, Reliance Jio — a member of the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) — had 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 had hit back dubbing Reliance Jio as a Back Door Operator or BDO.
Jio had also faulted the group’s proportionate voting rules as “skewed” in favour of dominant operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — that 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.
Mathews held that the executive committee runs in a “relatively free format” and added that the senior representative from all member companies come together once every quarter for the meeting to review the progress of the association.
The members have already been informed about the upcoming meeting, he said.
Besides the members, COAI’s leadership team consists of Chairman Gopal Vittal (MD & CEO – India & South Asia – Bharti Airtel), Vice-Chairman Sunil Sood (MD & CEO for Vodafone India) and Mathews, who are part of the executive committee meeting.
COAI members include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Reliance Jio and Telenor.