COAI working at behest of Bharti, Vodafone, Idea: Reliance Jio to Trai

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Published: July 28, 2017 1:08:47 AM

Slamming COAI for working at the “behest” of top three operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — on IUC, Reliance Jio has approached the regulator Trai, saying that the industry body’s views on the subject are “against interest of consumers” and “anti-competitive”.

COAI, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Trai, RIL subsidiary, BAK regimeJio raised the issue in a letter to Trai chairman R S Sharma in response to COAI writing to the regulator last week.

Slamming COAI for working at the “behest” of top three operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — on IUC, Reliance Jio has approached the regulator Trai, saying that the industry body’s views on the subject are “against interest of consumers” and “anti-competitive”.
Jio raised the issue in a letter to Trai chairman R S Sharma in response to COAI writing to the regulator last week opposing the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime for deciding the interconnect usage charge (IUC), which at present is 14 paise.

“A plain reading of the said letter reveals COAI’s deliberate and wilful intent to subvert the IUC consultation process at the behest of the incumbent dominant operators — Bharti, Vodafone and Idea,” Jio said in the letter, which was seen by FE. The RIL subsidiary further said, “The views expressed in the said letter of COAI are completely against the interests of consumers, anti-competitive and hinder the adoption of newer technology”.

During the consultation by Trai on review of IUC, the top three incumbents have favoured increasing the IUC and it being equal to the cost of operations, while the new entrant Jio has favoured the BAK regime and scrapping of the termination charges.

Adding that the repeated insistence of COAI on traffic asymmetry being a pre-condition to implement BAK regime is “completely frivolous and misplaced”, Jio said that Trai was “very clear in its report that pricing method has influence over traffic symmetry and adoption of BAK will reduce the inter-operator off-net traffic imbalance, and thus could help in convergence to an equilibrium situation”.

The new entrant also accused the industry body, of which Jio is also a member, that it is helping the top three operators, who are enjoying windfall gains due to continuation of high termination charges, and that COAI is misleading the Authority by “twisting and giving colours to the facts”. “In any event, COAI ought not to have espoused its views in any manner on the determination of IUC, since two of its five members, namely Aircel and Reliance Jio, have expressly differed from the views of the incumbent dominant operators,” Jio said, adding that the actions of COAI must
be condemned.

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