Regulator says Jio: To slap notices on its rivals
- Telecom regulator to slap show-cause notices on Idea, Vodafone and Airtel
- Blames them for call-drops on Jio's network
Right after Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Airtel, personally assured Reliance Jio and his chairman Mukesh Ambani that all key connectivity issues will be addressed by Airtel, the telecom regulator Trai has now said it will slap show cause notices on operators for call drops on the Jio network.
This comes at a time when Jio is charging dominant incumbent operators of providing far fewer points of inter-connect (POIs) than needed for its users to complete calls on rival networks, Trai Chairman R S Sharma said the regulator has reviewed data and it will issue show cause notices. "We have received the data. It shows call failure level is far far in excess of prescribed limit under Quality of Service rules. Prima facie this constitutes to non compliance of licence condition related to interconnection and QoS norms on congestion levels at PoI," he told PTI.
Earlier Jio had accused Bharti Airtel of providing less than one-fourth of the necessary interconnect points to complete calls between the two networks, a charge vehemently denied by the Sunil Mittal-led firm which said it is a ploy to cover up technical issues in its own network.
Jio had alleged that Airtel was abusing its market dominance and was indulging in "anti-competitive behaviour." It put the blame for over two crore call failures everyday squarely on Airtel.
Jio said, "It is apparent that Airtel continues to abuse its market dominance by imposing onerous conditions which will imminently hinder Jio's ability," it said in a statement.
Jio has now claimed that it has been witnessing 75-80% call failures over the last few weeks. It had said that over a period of 10 days alone, 52 crore calls failed cumulatively on the networks of the three incumbent operators Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
Idea had earlier said that it has agreed to provide 230% additional inter-connection capacity to help users of Reliance Jio complete calls, a move Jio termed as “grossly inadequate” displaying lack of intent to resolve the critical issue.
Idea said it will, “Further enhance capacity in both access and long-distance inter-connection, by providing over 230 per cent additional capacity, allowing for two-way calling between the networks”.
Idea said it has now provisioned 1,865 ports for access, from the 565 earlier. Simultaneously, the NLD (national long distance) capacity is also being expanded by nearly 50%.
“With this huge capacity expansion, over 2,100 ports will now be available for traffic between Idea and Jio, allowing sufficient buffer for future,” Idea said in a statement.
Trai had asked telecom operators to submit their network congestion details from September 15-19, 2016 to examine their claims. Sharma said, "TRAI has decided to issue show cause notice to concerned operators and also issue direction to them to ensure compliance of licensing condition in connection with the PoI issue". He refused however to name the operators. "Whenever we notice violation, directive and show cause notices will be given to those," he said.
"Unfortunately, customers are worst sufferers in this situation," he added.
Reliance Jio has alleged over 12 crore calls fail daily between Jio and the networks of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. Jio has said blocking of calls is a breach of licence conditions by the incumbent operators and severely impacts customer interests.
Vodafone too had recently said that it has decided to increase inter-connection capacity with Reliance Jio’s network by three times but Jio had said that the number of ports promised to be released is substantially lower than what it actually needs.
“Following guidance from TRAI and clarifications from Jio regarding its commercial launch, Vodafone India has decided to increase the points of inter-connect (POIs) between the two operators by thrice and accordingly, increase the capacity to connect,” Vodafone India said in a statement.