The country’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, said on Tuesday that it has provided Reliance Jio Infocomm with more than 35,000 points of interconnection (PoIs), in a record time of five months, something not seen before in the Indian telecom industry and is much more than comparable capacity provided by it to other operators.
For instance, Vodafone with 202 million customers has been provided a total of approximately 40,600 PoIs by Airtel over a period of 21 years. Of these 23,950 PoIs are for incoming calls – much less than what has been provided to Jio.
The PoIs provided to Jio are in excess to some of the other telecom operators such as Reliance Communications (RCoM), who have a larger subscriber base than Jio as on date.
Bharti said it has provided over 35,000 PoIs in five months, of which 27,719 PoIs or 79% of the total are dedicated for incoming calls from Jio customers, which is the highest amongst all operators. The capacity provided is ideal for serving over 190 million customers and is more than double of the 72.5 million total customers Jio currently claims.
Reiterating that it has honoured its regulatory obligations and ensured that there is no capacity constraints, Bharti stressed that it has been providing PoIs to Jio, well ahead of the commencement of its commercial operations.
“It, therefore, appears that the constant rhetoric by Jio with regard to PoIs is aimed at covering up technical issues in their own network or their inability to activate the PoIs given,” the company claimed.
On the contrary, due to continued non-compliance of Trai’s tariff orders by Jio by providing free services for the past 5-6 months, there is a tsunami of incoming voice traffic on the Airtel network, thereby, impacting the service experience of customers, it said.
“The huge asymmetry in traffic due to Jio’s free offers has also resulted in complete failure of the present IUC regime, which assumes nearly symmetric traffic while fixing the below cost termination charge. The present termination charge of 14 paise per minute is less than half of the actual cost of terminating calls on the network, resulting in huge loss to the company,” Bharti added.
The issue of interconnection has been a major sore point between the incumbents and Jio, with the latter complaining to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in August last year and the regulator recommending imposing penalties of around R3,050 crore on Bharti, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in October 2016.
Meanwhile, responding to Airtel, Reliance Jio said that it is a continuation of the firm’s ongoing mischievous and motivated campaign to divert attention from its anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions and violations of licence conditions that is being investigated by authorities. “The fact is that over 2.6 crore NLD calls are still failing daily amounting to 53.4% call failure (as on January 31, 2017) against Trai norms of 0.5%,” Jio said.
Jio further said, “Airtel’s claim of having provided 35,000 POIs to Jio is misleading given that in reality, it has not even done port allocation (first step of implementation) for over 1,100 of these POIs.”