MUMBAI: Ever since the launch of Reliance Jio and its announcement on extension of free services till March 31st, 2017 in the name of “Happy New Year offer”, the telecom industry has seen a massive shift with surveys declaring that more than 40% of Indian subscribers have started using Reliance Jio as the primary sim in their smartphones. Though it is a good news for Jio and its management, for other telecoms it is quite disheartening. They are left with no choice but to incur heavy losses, as they cannot provide tariffs lower than those of Reliance Jio, which has been providing services free of cost till March 31st, 2017. With the odds getting against its leadership position in the telecom industry, Bharti Airtel has once again started its battle against Jio with the issue of POIs.
Point of Interconnection (POI) is required if a call has to take place from one network to another. Reliance Jio has once again blamed the market leader for blocking calls from its network by not providing adequate interconnect points. To this, Airtel has issued a statement explaining that it has issued more than required number of Interconnect points to Jio based on the customer growth projection. Airtel blamed Reliance Jio of not having proper infrastructure to activate and use the additional interconnect points provided to it.
“We have provided Jio with a capacity sufficient to serve 190 million customers. As of December 2016, Jio has only 72.4 million customers on its network and there is no case for Jio to complain of lack of interconnect points. It is with them to provide themselves with the required additional infrastructure to activate the interconnect points”, the statement from Airtel said.
Following the Airtel’s statement, Jio slammed the operator terming the statements as ‘misleading’ and ‘mischievous’. Jio said that it has recorded a call failure rate of 53.4% against the actual TRAI’s norm of 0.5%. It further added that it will soon take up the issue with the TRAI.
This is not the first time that Jio had a battle with its competitors over POIs. Earlier, the Telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) went on to recommend a Rs 3050 crore penalty on Airtel, Idea, and others for failing to implement the license agreement by not providing adequate interconnect points to Reliance Jio.
Apart from this, Jio’s free calling and data offer is another matter of contention between the two operators. Following a recent clean chit from the TRAI over Jio’s ‘Happy New Year offer, telecom operators Idea and Airtel have moved the TDSAT to look into the issue by filing a fresh complaint. Airtel alleged that the free services offered by Reliance Jio were predatory and against the principles of competition. In line with it, TDSAT has already issued a notice to the TRAI and Jio to explain their stance on free offers.
Reliance Jio claims that its ‘Happy New Year offer’ is different from the ‘Welcome offer’ and that it cannot be called the same as it has different tariff plans, the digit reported.