India’s leading operators fuelled the heated war of words with 4G newcomer Reliance Jio, stating they are not obliged or in a position to provide sufficient interconnection points as they don’t have the capacity or financial resources to handle a pending surge in voice traffic, Economic Times reported.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), in a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office, said it “..becomes abundantly clear that the overwhelming burden of this free lunch is sought to be passed on to rival operators through tariff manipulations, which exploit the interconnect usage charge regime, and offload tsunamis of asymmetric voice traffic that will choke and financially destroy competition”.
COAI claimed that the ratio of incoming-to-outgoing traffic is normally 1:1, but was 10:1 in Jio’s beta trials, and it expressed concern it would climb to 15:1 as Jio’s subscriber base increased. Jio has set a target of 100 million subscribers.
Jio recently started commercial 4G operation across the country’s 22 service regions, offering subscribers free unlimited LTE data and national voice, video and messaging services until the end of the year.
Its aggressive move will likely start a price war, with major rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular reportedly set to respond with packages that beef up their own data offerings.
In early August, Jio accused the country’s incumbent operators of deliberately sabotaging its entry by not providing it with adequate points of interconnection, which forced it delay to its commercial launch.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) kicked off the row a month ago when it claimed the operator was offering a full-blown mobile service disguised as a trial.