On August 12, chief executives of top mobile companies, under the umbrella of of the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), called on Communications Minister Manoj Sinha to express concerns over alleged favouritism towards new players in the sector
Taking its battle to the rival camp, Reliance Jio has asked telecom regulator Trai to take action against dominant players, including Airtel, for denying it inter-connection in “breach” of the licence agreement.
Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL), a unit of Reliance Industries, said absence of incumbent operators to provide it points of inter-connection (PoIs) — connection between their facilities, equipment and network — led to unusually high call failures during its beta run.
The Mukesh Ambani-run firm on August 12 wrote to Trai Chairman R S Sharma saying the dominant operators under the aegis of COAI has “categorically mentioned that its member operators (which incidentally include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea) shall not be expected to provide PoIs to RJIL during the test trials”.
The unequivocal denial to provide PoIs, it said, was a “blatant breach of the licence agreement”.
The licence agreement provides for obligation of the licensee to provide inter-connection facilities to other licensees.
“It may be pertinent to note that the obligation of a licensee to provide PoIs is absolute and not contingent on any other factors, including any traffic imbalance or the licensee not having announced commercial launch,” said RJIL, which since December has been doing test runs for its pan-India high-speed 4G network in preparation of a commercial launch.
The company said it is following payment terms for such inter-connection and inter-connection usage charge (IUC) set by Trai in respect to test users.
Arguing that inter-connection between service providers is the basis of a telecom network, Reliance Jio said it is necessary that requisite PoIs, which are required to maintain minimum quality of service to ensure calls are completed to all destinations, must be unconditionally facilitated inter se between all operators, subject alone to payment of relevant IUC charges.
“The current number of PoIs provided or being provided to RJIL are far from adequate and this is more than evident from the fact that the current call failure rate is in excess of 65 per cent, resulting in more than 1.6 crore call failures per day between RJIL and the networks of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea,” it said.
It expressed concern that this situation will only get worse without expediting the requisite PoI augmentation.
Reliance Jio submitted that there was no legal or any other basis for the operators to deny or even delay the provisioning of PoIs for inter-connection.
It asked Trai to immediately direct the operators, including members of COAI, to provide PoIs to Reliance Jio without any demur or delay.
Also, it should “take any or all applicable action/s against the errant telecom service providers (TSPs) for any continued denial or delay in the provisioning of PoIs to RJIL and subsequent breach of the respective licences,” it added