comscore Reliance Jio interconnect issue: TRAI imposes heavy penalties on Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular

Reliance Jio interconnect issue: TRAI imposes heavy penalties on Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular

Incumbent players like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have been hit with heavy fines for not providing enough PoIs to Reliance Jio. TRAI says the three operators showed 'ulterior motive to stifle competition'.

  • Published: October 22, 2016 10:58 AM IST

The Indian telecom regulator on Friday slapped heavy penalties on three telecom players — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular — for not providing sufficient points of interconnections (PoI) to Reliance Jio. It also said the action of the three operators showed ‘ulterior motive to stifle competition’. Also Read - How two of the richest men in the world are fighting over your internet connection

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In similar letters to the three players, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said it has recommended a penal action of Rs 50 crore per license service area (LSA) (except Jammu & Kashmir) where PoI congestion exceeded the allowable limit of 0.5 percent as reported by Airtel/Vodafone/Idea Cellular through emails in September 23. In the case of Airtel and Vodafone, the fines imposed were for 21 LSAs, amounting to Rs 1050 crore each while in the case of Idea Cellular, the fine was Rs 950 crore for 19 LSAs. Also Read - Reliance Jio offering 20 percent JioMart cashback on these prepaid plans

The regulator had received a letter from Reliance Jio on July 14, stating that the incumbent players were not providing it with sufficient E1s (interconnect points, with technical parameters). After exchanging several communications with the three operators, TRAI arrived at the decision that each of them has been non-compliant to provide enough PoI between them and Reliance Jio. ALSO READ: Reliance Jio adds 0.6 million to 1.1 million customers a day despite call drops issue

The regulator also stated that the incumbent operators were in “non-compliance of the terms and conditions of license and denial of interconnection to Reliance Jio appears to be with ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer.” It defined the act of the incumbent players as against public interest. It said non-compliance of terms and conditions of license warrants recommendations for the revocation of license.

“However, the Authority is mindful of the fact that revocation of the license will entail significant consumer inconvenience and therefore in view of the larger public interest involved, the Authority recommends penal action…” ALSO READ: Is Reliance Jio the slowest 4G network in India? TRAI and Jio have a difference of opinion

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  • Published Date: October 22, 2016 10:58 AM IST

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