New Delhi: Terming its recent confrontation with regulator TRAI in the wake of Rel Jio controversy as “unfortunate misunderstanding”, the cellular operators body has said it has no intention to disparage anyone and is keen to move forward and resolve issues.
The telecom regulator had convened a meeting of telcos to resolve the ongoing dispute between the incumbent operators and the new entrant Reliance JIO over interconnecting joints. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Friday alleged that TRAI “in an unprecedented manner” had “acquiesced” to Reliance Jio’s demand to keep the association out of the crucial interconnect meeting between the operators.
Taking a stern view of allegations, the telecom watchdog thereafter asked the cellular operators’ body to take back its words and apologise for “malafide” and “patently wrong” statement. When contacted, COAI director general, Rajan S Mathews told PTI, “There is no intention to disparage anyone...We said that our association respects TRAI and its work...This was an unfortunate incident.”
Mathews emphasised the association is keen to move forward and resolve, not create, issues. “It is an unfortunate misunderstanding...we want to proceed forward on real issues that impact consumers...the matter has been resolved,” Mathews claimed. Asked if he would tender an apology as demanded by the regulator, Mathews said, “No apology is required...it was a misunderstanding.” As TRAI’s letter was addressed to Gopal Vittal, chairman of COAI, it was Vittal who spoke to TRAI, Mathews added.
Mathews drew flak from the regulator on Friday over his statement that he was “kept out of the Trai meeting at the insistence of Reliance Jio and Trai acquiesced to their demand, in an unprecedented manner.”
Soon thereafter, TRAI shot off a letter to COAI chairman, Vittal saying that the “The statement of Director General, COAI...alleging that he was not allowed by Trai to participate in the said meeting at the behest of Reliance Jio is to say the least patently wrong, mischievous and perhaps with malafide intention.”
“In order to set the record straight, the director general COAI may be directed to retract his false statement made in the media and issue apologies for the same,” the letter had said.