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Jio criticises COAI for favoring competitors; DoT’s committee to examine financial stress in telecom

A telecom tower

Jio has criticised telecom industry body⁠—Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)⁠—for writing a letter to the government highlighting financial stress in the telecom sector without waiting to incorporate Jio’s comments. Jio also criticised COAI for acting in the sole interests of two competing players Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. What was COAI seeking from the government? The COAI was seeking the Telecom Ministry’s intervention in the recent Supreme Court’s decision that has directed the Telecom Service Providers (TSP) to pay their dues, penalty, and interest worth Rs 92,640 crores within three months. The COAI argued that such payments will lead to a crisis at the companies and would cause distress to the sector as a whole. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea backed COAI’s views in the letter but Jio criticised it and said the letter does not represent industry views. In its letter to COAI yesterday, Jio accused the industry body of “serious breach of trust” and stated, “It seems that there was extraneous consideration to send this letter, only on the behest of other two members [Airtel and Vodafone Idea]. By such unwarranted behaviour COAI has proved that they are not an industry organisation but just a mouthpiece of two service providers. What was the Supreme Court’s judgement on TSPs? Last week, the SC had ordered that telecom companies have to include non-core income for calculation of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR), and asked them to pay Rs 92,640 crores to the Centre, which includes disputed demand, interest, and penalty. It's…

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