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Idea joins Airtel with its petition against TRAI over Jio’s promo offer: report

Idea Cellular has filed a petition with the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) alleging that the Indian Telecom regulator TRAI took no action against new entrant Reliance for violating regulations on promotional offers, reports Economic Times.

Idea’s petition comes just days after Airtel filed a similar appeal with the TDSAT alleging that TRAI was “perpetuating illegality” by allowing Jio to “game” the interconnection regulation with its free calls and data offer. According to the new report, Idea has termed TRAI as a “mute spectator” to Jio’s violation of the regulator’s own rule that a promo offer cannot be extended over a period of 90 days.

Both Idea and Airtel contends that Jio should have discontinued its promo offer on December 3rd, which equates to 90 days. Airtel had earlier requested the special tribunal to quash TRAI’s October 20th 2016 ruling which said that tariffs and promo offers being offered by Jio were complaint with current regulations. TDAST will hear Airtel’s petition on February 1st. TRAI on the other had earlier requested additional time to examine Jio’s promo offer that is extended up till March 2017, without responding to Airtel’s comments.

Jio’s CCI plea, and the Interconnection issue

Note that Reliance Jio has another legal combat going on with operators including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone. In November, the Mukesh Ambani owned telco filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) claiming that Airtel, Idea, and Vodafone have formed a cartel to restrict its operations by denying interconnection points.

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During Reliance Industries’ Q3 FY17 results, Jio pointed out that at least 175 calls are failing out of every 1,000 calls made from Jio to Airtel network. The telco had earlier claimed that crores of calls were failing while interconnecting with Airtel, Idea, and Vodafone, while the incumbent operators claimed to have released adequate PoIs to Jio and that it was Jio who was delaying optimization of the PoIs released. A timeline of this can be read here.

Apart from this, Vodafone had filed a separate petition in the Delhi High Court challenging TRAI’s Rs 1050 crore penalty applied on Vodafone for allegedly violating license norms by denying interconnection points to Jio.

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