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TRAI will hold meeting with telcos to discuss the interconnection battle: report


The country’s telecom regulator TRAI has called for a meeting with all telecom operators to discuss about the issue augmentation of PoIs for providing adequate interconnection between their networks, according to this IndiaTelevision report. The regulator has pledged to step in as Jio continues to allege that “crores of calls” are failing while interconnecting with incumbents operators.

TRAI’s Chairman RS Sharma speaking at an event mentioned that the regulator would hold a round-table conference to solve the issue, the reported added. A different Hindu report mentions that the meeting would be held on September 30th and discussion would also involve some alleged tariff violation by Reliance Jio.

During Jio’s recent launch of its telecom service for the general public, the company’s Director Mukesh Ambani said that all voice-calls would be free on Jio’s network and he claimed to provide data at Rs 50 per GB. It also announced a ‘welcome offer’ with free unlimited access to data and voice calls for those customers who haven’t still tried out the network. More here.

Ever since this announcement was made, the telecom industry seems to have locked horns with Jio on different issues including interconnection, augmentation of PoIs, tariff, etc. Following is a brief timeline of these developments.

The interconnection issue

On August 11th: After alleging that recent TRAI consultations on Interconnection charges favored new entrants, COAI lashed out against  Jio’s network trails stating that the amount of traffic being generated from the Jio trials are “choking” points of interconnection, and “impairing” quality of service of other operators.

On September 13th: Idea pledged to add an additional 196 POIs in order to handle 1.85 million more customers from Jio where calls originate. Some data from them: in August 2016, 2.97 million Jio subscribers called Idea’s network, and there was an asymmetry of traffic of 14.5 times between Jio and their network. Airtel said that with its upgrade, it will be able to serve 15 million customers but did not give out a specific number of POIs.

On September 15th: Jio claims that over 22 crore calls from Jio’s subscribers have failed while interconnecting with Airtel’s network, while 52 crore calls have failed in total while interconnecting with three incumbent operators combines viz. Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea.

On September 16th: Jio accused Vodafone India of being anti-competitive and said that it hasn’t provided enough points of interconnect (POIs) for voice calls on their network. It said that over 80 calls were failing out of every 100 call attempts to Vodafone, adding that“In the last 10 days alone, over 15 crore RJIL calls have failed on the Vodafone network”.

On September 18th: Airtel says PoIs have to be tested and connected, but Jio “seems to be dilly-dallying on the issue and not cooperating deliberately. It appears that the constant rhetoric may be a ploy by Jio to cover up some technical issues in their own network, which is causing call failures, by constantly blaming other operators. In addition, call drops or the lack of VoLTE stabilization should not be hidden behind the issue of POIs, which are being augmented at regular and quick intervals.”

On September 20th: Jio releases data saying that “hardly any new interconnection capacity has been made operational”, and that it needs 4,000 – 5,000 E1s per operator for the three incumbent operators. Jio mentioned 10 crore call failures per day between RJIL and the three incumbent operators.

On September 23rd: Jio claimed that over 750 calls per 1,000 are failing per day between Idea and Jio networks, which translates to 4 crore calls failing per day. “Only 50 new E1s have been operationalised by Idea in the last 10 days as a result of which call failure rate has been increasing drastically,” Jio added.

On September 27th: Bharti Airtel said that Jio’s sea call failures is taking place due to the Jio’s “under- preparedness and insufficient testing efforts,” according to a TelecomTalk report. The main reason for such call failures was due to Jio’s acquisition of large number of subscribers even before the commencement of its commercial launch, Airtel added.

On September 27th: Jio responded stating that “Airtel’s contention that the congestion has been caused by large-scale subscriber acquisition by RJIL is not only unreasonable but also anti-competitive.” It added that Jio has is “completely ready” to accept augmentation of PoIs from Airtel’s network and its transmission media has been up and operation for several months and that Jio-to-Jio calls have been running without any failures.

Also Read: Jio accuses COAI of being partial; COAI hits back at it for ‘labeling incumbents’

Image Credits: Wiki user Sdo216 under CC BY-SA 3.0

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