Formulate clear guidelines for network testing, DoT tells Trai

The DoT has asked Trai to define scale, duration of testing, address telecom network interconnection issue and matters pertaining to subscriber addition


Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

New Delhi: With telcos engaging in a slugfest with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the department of telecom (DoT) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to formulate clear guidelines for network testing with specific parameters.

“The DoT has written to Trai for setting clear rules around mobile network testing,” a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, adding the department had sent a communication to the regulator even before industry players approached it against Reliance Jio.

However, people at Trai who are familiar with the matter denied receiving any communication from the DoT. The telecom sector is confronted with a fresh battle brewing between Reliance Jio Infocomm and other telcos.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on 8 August wrote to telecom secretary J.S. Deepak against Reliance Jio alleging that the company is using scale and processes and gaming policy under the garb of network testing.

Reliance Jio countered the allegations by saying that incumbent telecom operators are trying to scuttle its test by not providing adequate interconnectivity in violation of present rules and deterring its launch.

The COAI has alleged that under the garb of the test, Reliance Jio is bypassing regulation features like interconnect usage charge, poaching customers of other telecom operators through MNP (mobile number portability).

The DoT has asked Trai to define scale, the duration of testing, address telecom network interconnection issue and matters pertaining to subscriber addition.

While the DoT issues licences for telecom services, the regulator’s job includes monitoring and compliance of licence conditions by service providers, the person said.

“All the issue raised by telcos like testing of network, interconnection, mobile number portability falls under the ambit of Trai. Therefore, the DoT has asked to frame clear norms to keep away dispute in the sector,” the person added.

Reliance Jio has set a target to achieve 100 million subscribers within a year of commercially rolling out service.

The COAI has also levelled allegation on Trai for being biased and working for the interest of new entrants. It has also took the matter to the prime minister’s office.

Trai chairman R.S. Sharma denied the charges and said the regulator will continue “to perform functions assigned in the Trai Act, with regard to consumer protection, quality of service, encouraging competition, fair play and growth of industry”.

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