Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio today escalated the war against the telecom association COAI, of which it is one of the members, saying the body was spreading patent falsity in denying that the recent press statements were directed against it.
In a strongly-worded letter to the Cellular Operators Association of India or COAI – its second such communication in a week – Jio said that the industry body’s veiled references to it as being the sole beneficiary of TRAI’s regulations were not lost on anyone.
“RJIL strenuously denies the correctness of the assertion that the Press Release was not directed against any particular operator. The patently falsity of this statement is apparent on a plain reading of the Press Release, which is rife with references to ‘one operator’ said to be the sole beneficiary of TRAI’s recent regulatory interventions,” Jio said.
The letter addressed to COAI Director General Rajan Mathews further said that the identity of the operator was also not left in any doubt in the Press Release, which in claiming that `TRAI has copy pasted the demands of this one operator’ attempted to underscore the assertion by a comparison of the views of RJIL and the contents of the TTO (Telecom Tariff Order).
Jio said that the attempts of part of Mathews and COAI to “belatedly claim that the press release was not intended to aggrieve any particular operator is an implicit admission of the patently false and defamatory nature of Press Release. Jio claimed that this also constituted a misplaced attempt to avoid liability in regard to the same.
Jio said it reiterates contents of its legal notice dated February 22, 2018, and once again reserves its rights to initiate appropriate proceedings in accordance with the law.
Yesterday, Mathews had ruled out an apology to Jio, over the industry body’s recent allegations that indicated the orders of sector regulator TRAI have been favouring the newcomer.
“There is no question of apologising to Jio as there is no worthy reason to do so, as the COAI s differences are with TRAI’s order not anything with any specific operator,” Mathews had said.
The association last week had countered Jio’s verbal offensive against it, saying that was duty-bound as an association to raise concerns related to growth of the sector.
The association had also said its “differences” are with orders of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) not a specific operator.
The full-blown war of words erupted in the sector after COAI alleged that TRAI’s regulations, including its rules and definition of predatory pricing, had distorted the market.
COAI had also alleged that the orders appeared “to be strengthening the ambitions of one particular operator with deep pockets and monopolistic designs at the expense of other operators” although it did not name Reliance Jio which has hit the incumbent operators hard by its aggressive pricing of mobile services, especially data tariffs.
Reliance Jio had termed COAI’s allegations as “defamatory” and “malicious” and also demanded that both the association and Mathews tender public apology on the issue.