Reliance Jio, Airtel continue to spar over points of interconnection

Airtel says provided 17,000 PoIs to Reliance Jio to serve 75 million customers, Reliance Jio says these are only one-way terminals


Reliance Jio has slammed Airtel for providing only one-way PoIs for completing calls rather than two-way nodes, calling it a violation of licence agreement. Photo:
Reliance Jio has slammed Airtel for providing only one-way PoIs for completing calls rather than two-way nodes, calling it a violation of licence agreement. Photo:

New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Ltd on Thursday said it has given Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd 17,000 points of interconnnection (PoIs), sufficient to serve 75 million customers, and that too “well ahead of the timeframe”—a claim the new telecom firm has contested. Reliance Jio has charged market leader Airtel of violating licence norms by providing only one-way ports.

In a statement released Thursday, Airtel said it has “provided over 7,000 additional points of interconnection to Reliance Jio, taking the total number of PoIs provided till date to over 17,000. This capacity is sufficient to serve over 75 million customers, based on the forecast provided by Jio to Airtel”.

The move came within days of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) suggesting a Rs1,050 crore penalty on Airtel for purportedly denying network connectivity to Reliance Jio.

“This is well ahead of the timeframe, since there are currently only 25 million customers making calls to the Airtel network from Jio. Our regulatory obligations permit us to provide interconnect in a period of 90 days,” Airtel said in the statement.

Reliance Jio, however, slammed Airtel for providing only one-way PoIs for completing calls rather than two-way nodes, calling it a violation of licence agreement.

“However, Airtel has continued to violate the Interconnection Agreement by offering one-way E1s as against both-way E1s as provided for in the Agreement, which would have resulted in much more efficient utilization of interconnection resources,” Reliance Jio said in a statement released hours after Airtel’s.

Asking Reliance Jio to ensure additional PoIs that are “promptly” made available are operationalized with “same alacrity”, Airtel said this will help identify any network-related issues which Jio may have in their network, should any problems persist.

“In addition, Jio has already provided us their future requirements for capacities at 100 million customers. As and when they ramp up their current subscriber base, we will further augment capacities ahead of time, as we have always done,” Airtel said in the statement.

Airtel, however, also asked Trai to look into “incredible asymmetry” of calls terminating on its network from Reliance Jio due to the latter’s free services.

“This continued asymmetry will degrade the customer experience for Airtel customers over time and meltdown networks,” Airtel said in the statement.

Jio however contended that Airtel has provided the PoIs following meetings of communications minister Manoj Sinha and Trai chairman R.S. Sharma with the chief executives of Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Reliance Jio earlier in the week on the subject of breach of quality of service(QoS)parameters.

“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 (points of interconnection) capacity,” Jio said.

Points of Interconnection enable mobile users to make calls to customers on other networks and is, therefore, crucial for smooth functioning of mobile services.

Reliance Jio said there has been no delay on its side in operationalizing PoIs and it has been consistently following-up with Airtel and the other incumbent operators over the last several months for augmentation of interconnection capacity.

“These requests had been denied by Airtel and other incumbent operators in complete breach of their license conditions. It may be noted that there are no failures in on-net calls, while over 4.6 crore calls are still failing every day between Jio and Airtel.”

Jio further said the current traffic pattern between Jio and Airtel network is in line with expectation from a new network and will tend to move towards balanced traffic as the network matures.

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