Govt to consider COAI concerns against Reliance Jio, Trai
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New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) on Friday assured the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) that it will consider the points raised by the lobby group in its ongoing tug of war with the telecom regulator and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
COAI has accused the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) of favouring Jio through its interventions in the sector.
“The government has said that they will take the matter and arguments presented by respective parties into consideration and resolve as needed. The matter cannot be taken to TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) because TDSAT is not functional and at the moment not chaired by anyone,” Rajan S. Mathews, director general of COAI, said after a meeting with the telecom department to discuss the issues of incumbent telecom operators with Trai and Reliance Jio.
The meeting was attended by chief executive of Bharti Airtel Ltd, Gopal Vittal, who is also the chairman of COAI, along with Vodafone India’s CEO and vice-chairman of COAI, Sunil Sood. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha and secretary, DoT, J.S. Deepak, were also present at the meeting.
Reliance Jio is also a member of COAI. The telecom industry has been expressing disapproval of Reliance Jio’s prolonged test trial phase and uncertainty over commercial launch while having 1.5 million users on its network currently.
COAI, primarily a lobby of large incumbent telcos, says a test of this magnitude is actually a commercial operation.
COAI has also complained to the department of telecommunications that this launch has been done without submission of a tariff plan or interconnection agreements. It claims that as a result, telcos on whose networks calls made from Reliance Jio networks terminate, do not receive the so-called interconnection usage charge (IUC).
COAI has also alleged that proposals by Trai on a new interconnect regime that slashes IUCs or moving to a so-called bill-and-keep model that favours new telcos are favourable to Reliance Jio.
COAI released a letter earlier this week calling Trai biased and Reliance Jio’s competitive strategy unfair. Reliance Jio said on Wednesday that COAI’s moves are an effort to sabotage its launch.