Reliance Jio welcomed Bharti Airtel’s move to set up 7,007 additional points of interconnection to ease traffic between the two players, even as Airtel promised that it would uphold the law. The moves indicate the end of a bitter battle between the newcomer and India’s largest operator over connection rights to each others’ networks.
Airtel had, in a statement today, said the company was release interconnection capacity is “sufficient to serve over 75 million customers, based on the forecast provided by Jio to Airtel.”
“We now request Jio to ensure that the additional POIs, that we have made available at a staggering pace, be operationalised with the same alacrity,” Airtel said.
“This will also ensure that the quality of service (QoS) is maintained and the customers are not inconvenienced,” it added.
Idea and Vodafone are likely to follow suit soon, two weeks after the regulator recommended a combined fine of over Rs 3,000 cr on the three players for what it called consciously blocking calls from Jio’s subscribers.
“With the latest augmentation, Airtel has now provided Jio the capacity to cater to 75 million customers. This is well ahead of the timeframe, since there are currently only 25 million customers making calls to the Airtel network from Jio,” Airtel said.
Jio responded to the statement saying that it welcomed the move that was “consequent to the meetings of the Hon’ble Minister of Communication and TRAI Chairman with the CEOs of Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and RJIL earlier this week.”
“This allocation was long overdue considering the severe hardships caused to the customers of both operators in being able to connect voice calls between the two networks. More than 280 crore calls have failed between RJIL and Airtel over the last three and a half months because of absolute shortage of POI capacity,” it added.
“It may be noted that all operators have a mandatory and unconditional obligation under the license to provide adequate POIs to all the other operators. This is irrespective of the status of operations of the other operators or the traffic pattern and is not a favour to any operator,” it added.
It also took objection to Airtel’s statement that it had 90 days to provide interconnection points. “The contention that regulatory obligations permit to provide interconnect in a period of 90 days is misplaced considering the severe QOS and congestion issues that the non-provision of POIs has caused. There is no entitlement of timing when it comes to such severe breach of QOS as against the 90 days indicated by Airtel.”
The Mukesh Ambani-led firm also said there has been no delay in operationalising POIs at its end and dismissed allegations that call drops were the result of Jio’s own network shortcomings.
“There are no network related issues that RJIL has faced beyond the acute shortage of POIs provided by Airtel and other incumbent operators.”
It also added that Airtel has continued to violate the Interconnection Agreement by offering one-way connection points as against both-way E1s as provided for in the Agreement, which would have resulted in much more efficient utilisation of interconnection resources.
RJIL hopes that Airtel will continue to release adequate POIs going forward to ensure that it adheres to the QOS parameter of POI congestion mandated by TRAI regulation at less than 5 per 1,000 calls at all times.