India’s 4G newcomer Reliance Jio again went on the offensive against rival Bharti Airtel, accusing the market leader of still not providing the interconnection points it committed to, resulting in call failure rates of more than 53 per cent.
In a press release, Jio said Airtel issued “a malicious and misleading media statement” regarding provisioning of adequate interconnection capacity. “The statement is a continuation of Airtel’s ongoing mischievous and motivated campaign to divert attention from its anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions and violations of licence conditions, which are being investigated by the authorities.”
Jio went on to say an Airtel claim it provided 35,000 connection points to Jio is misleading, and the market leader is yet to begin the first step of implementation on many of the POIs.
Airtel previously said it provided access to the POIs in five months and 79 per cent are dedicated for incoming calls – the highest among all operators. The capacity provided is enough to serve more than 190 million customers, which is more than double the 72.5 million customers claimed by Jio, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
India’s leading operator responded by complaining to the Prime Minister’s Office, stating Jio’s “constant rhetoric” over inadequate POIs is untrue and its calls fail because of faults in the newcomer’s network, ET reported.
Jio said evidence doesn’t support Airtel’s claim there are technical issues in its network, noting there no call failures in Jio-to-Jio calls.
Jio filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in November, accusing the country’s top three operators of “abuse of dominance” and cartel-like behaviour for not providing sufficient interconnection.
The complaint came a month after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended penalties of INR10.5 billion ($153 million) each for Airtel and Vodafone India and INR9.5 billion for Idea Cellular, stating the lack of interconnection was an “ulterior motive to stifle competition and be anti-consumer”.
In September, the top three operators committed to providing Jio with additional interconnection points after it requested 12,000 POIs to handle its expanding customer base. However, Jio said it didn’t see a significant improvement in the number of off-net dropped calls, which it attributes to a lack of interconnect points.