The tussle between Reliance Jio and rival telecom players over the issue of interconnect seems far from being over. While announcing the commercial rollout of Jio 4G services in India, Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director, Mukesh Ambani, had pointed out the interconnect issue had led to a huge number of call drops from and to Jio network, ultimately hurting users experience. Both industry body COAI and Reliance Jio have expressed desire to resolve the problem, but the resolution seems highly unlikely to come anytime sooner. Now, Ambani has launched a scathing attack on rival telecom operators, accusing them of making excuses to block calls from Jio subscribers. Also Read - Airtel Rs 79 plan vs JioPhone Rs 75 prepaid plan compared: Which offers better value?Also Read - Reliance JioFiber plans with free Voot Select subscription: Check plans, price, and other benefits
“You are supposed to augment interconnect when the current capacity utilisation reaches 70 per cent . You cannot use excuses that someone is doing promotions, capacity requirement has gone up, etc. Those are not acceptable,” Ambani said in an interview to Economic Times. Ambani s statement comes in the wake of the COAI letter to the Prime Minister s Office (PMO) stating that the telcos weren t legally bound to give interconnect to Jio. The telcos, through representing body COAI, also said they didn t have enough financial resources or infrastructure to deal with the massive voice calls traffic from Jio. It is worth pointing out here that Reliance Jio is offering free voice calls to its users for life. Also Read - JioFiber broadband plans with free Netflix subscription: Check plans, price, data benefits, more
Ambani also lambasted COAI saying, “the official or the CEO of the association becomes an employee of the top two or three operators, in essence. When we get substantial revenue, we will not misuse our revenue power. That I can guarantee you.”
COAI has promptly responded to Ambani s claims about the rival telecom operators deliberately blocking Jio calls. The comments made with reference to the functioning of COAI are absolutely incorrect and misleading…. Especially with regard to the Inter-connect User Charge (IUC), we would like to categorically state that the views expressed by the Association on the matter are of all the members except Reliance Jio, which is the only member opposing it, COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said in a statement.
It is also completely incorrect to say that ..the official or the CEO of the Association becomes an employee of the top two or three operators, in essence. Calling into question the credibility and integrity of the views & opinions of all its member operators is against the spirit of the conduct of members of the Association. We would expect the member partners to take utmost care while talking about the functioning of the Association, he added.
The interconnect issue continues to be the bone of contention between Reliance Jio and rival telecom operators. For Reliance Jio, the resolution is highly important as the operator is giving away free local and STD voice calls for life, which is one of the biggest USPs of its offering apart from cheaper data tariffs. Already, a number of users have complained about poor call quality, and according to the company s own figures there have been over 5 crore call drops just in two weeks before the official launch. Reliance Jio aims to have 100 million users in the shortest time, and is hoping its lucrative offers like free voice calls and ultra low-cost data plans will help achieve that. With India still being one of the voice-dominated markets, Reliance Jio s ambitious growth plan may take a hit due to issues like interconnect. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio s free voice calls aren t actually free: COAI s Rajan S Mathews
Rival telecom operators, on the other hand, have cried foul saying Jio had been offering full-fledged services in garb of a preview offer. As far as the voice calls go, the operators have pointed out a massive volume from Jio s network that they were unable to manage with their existing resources. According to COAI, the outgoing calls ratio for carriers in India is 1:1 but during Jio s beta tests the ratio is 10:1 and is expected to hit 15:1 as soon as more users come onboard. DON T MISS: Reliance Jio 4G LTE launch: 5 reasons why you shouldn t port from your existing cellphone carrier, just yet
This basically means that the ratio of the origin of voice calls skewed towards Jio network, and increasingly terminate on the networks of other service providers. Operators make more money when the calls are originated from their network than when it gets terminated. An imbalanced ratio will adversely impact the incumbent network operators’ revenues. With Jio s voice services being free, rival operators are also grappling with a big load on their already congested network. RELATED: Here s everything that Reliance Jio did not reveal about its tariff plans yesterday, and you won t like it
For users, especially those on the Reliance Jio network, the war of words between Reliance Jio and COAI is only bad news. They are already grappling with poor voice services, and delay in settlement between the two sides only means that the situation isn t going to improve. With more users flocking to Reliance Jio network, it s likely to get worse in the coming days.