Reliance Jio call drops row: Trai says ‘congestion bad’, to issue notices to Airtel, Vodafone, Idea

By: | Updated: September 27, 2016 6:38 PM

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will issue show-cause notices to all mobile operators for the high level of congestion in their network that is leading to call failures to and from Reliance Jio’s network beyond the permissible limits.

Trai chairman RS Sharma told FE that based on the data that the regulator had asked from all the operators, it has found that the congestion level is as high as 96% in some of the circles against the permissible limit of 0.5%. (PTI)Trai chairman RS Sharma told FE that based on the data that the regulator had asked from all the operators, it has found that the congestion level is as high as 96% in some of the circles against the permissible limit of 0.5%. (PTI)

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) will issue show-cause notices to all mobile operators for the high level of congestion in their network that is leading to call failures to and from Reliance Jio’s network beyond the permissible limits.

Trai chairman RS Sharma told FE that based on the data that the regulator had asked from all the operators, it has found that the congestion level is as high as 96% in some of the circles against the permissible limit of 0.5%.

“The congestion levels are as high as 96% in some of the circles.

It is beyond the permissible limit in every circle. It is really bad as consumers are being inconvenienced
for no fault of theirs. We will issue show-cause notices to all the operators in the next few days. Let’s hear their explanation, based on which we will take action,” Sharma said.

He, however, declined to name any specific operator.

The data for congestion which Trai had sought from all the operators and analysed are from September 15 to 19.

The Quality of Service norms prescribe that congestion level should not exceed beyond 0.5%, which means that out of 1,000 calls not more than 5 should fail. However, in the present case almost 960 calls are failing.

The congestion level is different from call drops. In the former, a call does not get connected whereas in the latter a call drops after it is connected. For call drops, the failure should not be more than 2%.

Although Trai has decided to issue show-cause notices to all operators, it is not clear whether the move will lead to any long-term solution. This is because the regulator has no powers to levy penalties on operators who do not follow its directive. The maximum it can do is to charge them in a civil court.

The high level of congestion is because of insufficient points of interconnect (PoIs) being provided to Reliance Jio Infocomm by the incumbent operators.

Though the incumbents — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — have augmented the PoIs to Jio in the last two weeks, Jio maintains that they are still insufficient and leading to almost 10 crore call failures. The incumbents say that the PoIs are sufficient but since Jio is providing free services till December 31, it is leading to an abnormally high level of traffic.

Though augmentation of PoIs has happened in the past two weeks with Bharti providing 2,000 points, Vodafone around 1,500 and Idea 1,865, sources in Jio said that the actual release has not happened yet of all the points. With regard to Bharti, Jio had earlier said that the company has provided the additional PoIs on the basis of two-way traffic, which means that half of them would be used for calls made from Bharti’s network to Jio. This effectively reduces the PoIs available for calls made from Jio’s network to Bharti’s.

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