It has also complained that the GSM Industry body is dominated by a few operators. COAI represents top telcos including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. Jio is also a member of COAI.
NEW DELHI: The face-off between Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) and the country’s top telcos has intensified with the Mukesh Ambani-owned company accusing the industry body that represents existing operators of trying to sabotage its entry and malign its name.
Identical letters sent by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJio) to the government and the telecom regulator explanatory its stand against the allegations made by incumbent operators has intensify the tussle between the new entrant and the obtainable companies.
“Due to in satisfactory interconnection, even the existing 15 lakh test users are experiencing 65 per cent call failures… It would clearly not be prudent for RJIL to contemplate launching of commercial services with this level of call failure,” Jio said in the letters written on Wednesday.
Reliance Industries’ telecom unit asked the government and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) to ensure that existing players comply with licensing agreements and augment PoIs with Jio.
The letter comes after COAI – representing top telcos including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – wrote to the telecom department (DoT) on Monday, urging it to immediately ask Jio to snap all connections provided to 1.5 million users as it was allegedly by passing regulations by offering full-fledged services under the guise of ‘test’ connections.
This brawl has erupted ahead of Jio’s much-anticipated and longawaited commercial launch which is expected to disrupt the telecom markand begin a price war. Incumbent telcos have already slashed effective data tariffs by 67 per cent for prepaid customers, and market leader Bharti Airtel has started offering free and unlimited voice with some of its data packs.
COAI has alleged that the volume of voice traffic generated by Jio due to the free services it was offering was choking already-augmented PoIs, and was in turn hurting service quality of operators who have tariff-paying subscribers. It added that COAI’s members “should no longer be expected to provide PoIs while this charade of tests is being played out”.
A COAI allocation comprising Bharti Airtel Chief Executive Officer Gopal Vittal and Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood will meet Telecom Secretary JS Deepak on Friday to discuss concerns regarding Reliance Jio’s operations.
The trade body has also required a meeting with Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to the prime minister, to complain about the telecom regulator’s ‘biased’ decisions in favour of new operators such as Reliance Jio.
‘Not provided pois’
Jio, on its part, said it hasn’t been provided PoIs despite paying termination charges as per rules.
It has described as “malicious, unfounded, ill-informed and frivolous” COAI’s allegations that it was neither submitting information about tariffs to the telecom regulator for approval nor giving customer acquisition forms (CAFs) for auditing.
“The test trials being conducted by RJIL are well within the scope of the terms and conditions of the Unified Licence,” Jio said, citing several provisions. It added that the company had given information about the test trials – which was needed given the completely new network on a new technology – and the extension of the offer of trials to both DoT and Trai from time to time.
Jio said it had also informed Trai of the process of enlisting users for the trial, who are taken on board only after meeting all customer verification rules.
DoT and Trai were updated on a monthly basis about the on-boarding of test users. Attacking COAI for taking potshots at the telecom regulator, Jio said the industry body had “deliberately indulged in an unwarranted vilification campaign, not only against RJIL, but also against Trai, through various media reports, without any basis whatsoever”.
COAI had earlier this week issued a statement hitting out at the telecom regulator, accusing it of favouring “new entrants”, although it did not name any company.
While tensions between the incumbents and Trai had been simmering for a while, the latest consultation paper issued by the regulator on Friday which proposed abolition of termination charge (the fee the network on which the call originates pays to the operator on whose network the call ends), provoked the industry body into going public with its complaints.
In its letters, Jio said the three incumbent operators opposed the lowering of termination charges as part of their strategy to stifle new entrants who would benefit from such a move. As new entrants will initially have fewer subscribers, their termination charge outgo will be higher.