While announcing the commercial roll out of Reliance Jio 4G services in India, Mukesh Ambani did point out the ongoing tussle between Jio and incumbent players over the issue of interconnect points. Expressing hope to resolve the issue amicably, Mukesh Ambani did reveal that Jio customers had suffered a whopping 5 crore call failures to other networks just during the week before the launch. Responding to Ambani s statement, the industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had also expressed desire to resolve the interconnect issue. But it seems the two sides are unlikely to reach any solution any time sooner, which is a bad news for Jio customers who are already grappling with poor quality voice services. An Economic Times report reveals that the COAI has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the incumbent players will not be able to manage Reliance Jio s requests for interconnection points. The COAI has said that the member telecom players don t have enough infrastructure and financial resources to provide termination to Jio s evident massive volumes of voice traffic. BGR India’s sources have also confirmed the COAI letter and its contents. Also Read - Reliance JioFiber plans with free Voot Select subscription: Check plans, price, and other benefitsAlso Read - JioFiber broadband plans with free Netflix subscription: Check plans, price, data benefits, more
According to the publication, the COAI had written two days after Mukesh Ambani launched the services at the company s Annual General Meeting. The industry body had already written a similar letter to the government a few weeks ago. Unloading tsunamis of asymmetric incoming voice traffic from a (potential) 100 million Reliance Jio customers can lead to the weighted average voice realisation of existing operators plunging from 30-40 paise per voice minute to 22-25 paise per voice minute or even lower,” read the letter. Also Read - How to get free Netflix subscription: Just follow these steps
“Reliance Jio may well make up some part of this massive voice cross-subsidy by way of data revenue realisations, by way of customer acquisitions/churn, but it becomes abundantly clear that the overwhelming burden of this free lunch is sought to be passed on to rival operators through tariff manipulations, which exploit the Interconnect Usage Charge (IUC) regime, and offload tsunamis of asymmetric voice traffic that will choke and financially destroy competition,” COAI Director General Rajan Mathews wrote.
Pointing out the massive volume from Jio s network, COAI revealed that normal incoming to outgoing ration in India is 1:1 but in case of Jio s beta tests the ratio is 10:1 and is likely to reach 15:1 in some time with more users coming onboard. What this essentially means is that the ratio of the origin of voice calls will skew towards Jio’s network and will increasingly terminate on the incumbent networks. Carriers make more money when the calls originate from their network than when it gets terminated. This would adversely affect existing carriers. Jio is offering free voice calls to everyone anywhere in India, including when they are roaming since its network is entirely IP-based. However, because of the calls being free, users are swamping other networks with voice calls, which could congest their already congested networks. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio s free voice calls aren t actually free: COAI s Rajan S Mathews
It may be recalled that the COAI and Reliance Jio are at loggerheads over the issue of interconnect points for a very long time. Earlier, Reliance Jio had accused rival operators of not providing enough interconnect points to the service provider, and deliberately delaying its launch. It is worth pointing out that Jio has made its voice calls free for its 4G users, but it is incurring costs for the interconnect points. Though users aren t able to make these voice calls to other networks due to lack of interconnect points. Jio had been looking to leverage the free 4G voice calls offer to gain its target of 100 million subscribers in the shortest time. The rival players though had cried foul over Reliance Jio offering full fledged services during the in the garb of tests (read Jio Preview Offer). DON’T MISS: Reliance Jio 4G LTE launch: 5 reasons why you shouldn t port from your existing cellphone carrier, just yet
“Based on industry practice, 12,500 E1 ports (interconnect points, with technical parameters) are required for 22 million subscribers, which details have been provided to the COAI member operators. As against this, the top 3 operators have released only 1,400 ports so far. As you can see, it is grossly incorrect to suggest that sufficient number of ports have been given to support 15 million users. This is reflected in the experience in the field where over 65 per cent of calls to networks of the top 3 operators are failing today,” Reliance Jio had said in a statement last month. RELATED: Here s everything that Reliance Jio did not reveal about its tariff plans yesterday, and you won t like it
COAI was quick to respond to Jio s allegations stating, We understand Reliance Jio presently has approximately 2 to 3 million customers using their network. Hence, we are unable to substantiate Reliance Jio’s claim for additional capacity.