New Delhi: Amid simmering tension and ongoing parleys between new entrant and private incumbent operators over connectivity, state-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has said it has provided “sufficient points of interconnect” to Reliance Jio and can augment it more based on requirement.
BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava told PTI that there has been no fresh request from Jio for increasing the capacity at points of interconnect, and added, “should they make an enquiry, we will augment the capacity.”
“We have provided sufficient points of interconnect to Jio... while Jio is providing voice calls free of cost, whenever those calls land into BSNL network, we get interconnectivity charge of 14 paise... so it makes commercial sense for us,” he said.
Interconnection between telecom networks is crucial as it enables mobile users to make calls to subscribers of other operator. A mobile operator levies interconnection usage charge for each incoming call it gets from a subscriber of another network.
BSNL, which added 13.03 lakh wireless subscribers, second highest after Bharti Airtel in June 2016, said it has not experienced any call congestion on its network, with regard to traffic coming from Jio. “We have provided PoI in all state headquarters for Jio... in 20 locations at least PoIs have been provided for Jio and other operators,” he said.
Shrivastava said he was not aware of any call failures between BSNL and Jio networks. “I don’t think so...neither Jio has informed us nor have we experienced it,” he said. On allegation by private operators on “tsunami” of free traffic purportedly being unleashed from Jio network, Shrivastava said, “whenever a new entrant comes, it is always asymmetric and slowly it (the traffic) normalises. Symmetry gets established over a point of time.”
At present, BSNL’s market share is pegged at 8.65% of the wireless subscriber base. Bharti, the largest mobile operator in India commands a market share of 24.71%, followed by Vodafone (19.26%) and Idea (17.03%), as on June 2016.
The three operators—Bharti, Vodafone and Idea—had locked horns with new entrant Reliance Jio over points of interconnect but following Trai’s intervention and a warning from the regulator on complying with service quality norms, they have agreed to augment capacity on network ports.
On Thursday, Vodafone became the third incumbent operator, after Idea Cellular and Airtel to agree to increase connectivity points for Reliance Jio, a move that should logically pave the way for easy exchange of calls between subscribers of Jio and other networks.
Reliance Jio, which commercially launched services on 5 September, has accused the existing players of not releasing sufficient ports on their networks, thereby leading to a situation where 75 of its calls are failing, out of every 100 call attempts.