Almost five months after Reliance Jio’s launch in September, India’s largest telecom operator Airtel said that it has provided over 35,000 Points of Interconnection (PoI) to Jio, of which most of them were “dedicated” for incoming calls. Airtel claims that the PoIs provided to Jio is “ideal” for serving 190 million customers and that it is Jio fault that calls are failing on its network since it has not carried out activation of PoIs provided to it.
In addition, Airtel pointed out that there is a “tsunami” of incoming voice traffic onto its network due to Jio’s free calls and data offer, and that the promo offer does not comply with TRAI’s prevailing regulations. “The huge asymmetry in traffic due to Jio’s free offers has resulted in complete failure of the present IUC regime…The present termination charge of 14 paise is less than half of the actual cost of termination calls on the network, resulting in huge loss to the company,” Airtel added.
Airtel is continuing its “mischievous” campaign: Jio
Responding to Airtel’s comments, the Mukesh Ambani-owned telco said that Airtel’s statement is a continuation of its “ongoing mischievous and motivated campaign” and that Airtel is indulging in anti-competitive practices. Jio says that over 2.6 core outgoing calls were failing daily to the Airtel network in the last month alone, which translates to a 53% call failure rate. Jio added that only 0.6% of calls made within its network failed in the same time period.
The telco says that Airtel has not released enough number of PoIs as it claims: Out of 10,043 PoIs required, Airtel has released only 4,432 PoIs, as per Jio’s claims. “Airtel’s claim of having provided 35,000 POIs to Jio is misleading given that in reality, it has not even done port allocation (first step of implementation) for over 1,100 of these POIs,” the telco added. Jio’s data also claims that call failures to Airtel network have increased from 29.4% in September 2016 up to 53% as of January 2017.
“Airtel’s statement that IUC regime assumes symmetric traffic is funny, to say the least,” Jio said, responding to Airtel’s statement that Jio’s traffic is asymmetric. “If the traffic is symmetric, the earnings and payments towards IUC cancel out each other and there need not be any IUC charges…Airtel’s cry for higher IUC stems from the inability to retain customers by providing telecom services at cheaper cost. Seemingly, Airtel wants other operators to subsidize its operations,” Jio added.
Interconnection issue so far
The interconnection battle last came to limelight in November 2016, when Jio alleged that crores of calls are failing while interconnecting with Airtel. At that time, Airtel pointed out that it has released enough PoIs to handle 75 million customers. A timeline of this here.
Apart from this, Airtel and Idea had earlier filed petitions with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) alleging that Jio’s free offers violated TRAI’s regulations that a promo pack cannot be provided for more than 90 days. While the regulator recently held hat Jio did not violate regulations since the telco has characterized its promo offers differently. Vodafone is also battling out TRAI and Jio in the Delhi HC.