Reliance Jio blames Airtel for over 50% call drops on its network

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Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel and new entrant in telecom industry Reliance Jio are at loggerheads once again over the issue of interconnect points and call failures.

Airtel, which was censured by regulator TRAI in October over the issue, on Tuesday guaranteed that it has provided over 35,000 interconnect points to Jio and these are sufficient to cover not less than 190 million customers, much higher than the Mukesh Ambani telco’s current 73 million subscribers base.

Jio, however, shot back, dismissing Airtel’s claims as “malicious and misleading”. It said that over 2.6 crore national long-distance calls were failing daily on its network due to Airtel and this amounts to “53.4% call failure (as on January 31)” as against Trai’s norm of 0.5%.

“This latest 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 license conditions which are being investigated by the Authorities,” Jio made the statement after Airtel spoke about the interconnect points in a statement.

“Airtel’s claim of having provided 35,000 points of interconnect to Jio is misleading given that in reality, it has not even done port allocation (first step of implementation) for over 1,100 of these. Airtel continues to issue demand notes for these interconnect points to slow down the process, whereas no payment is due under the Interconnection Agreement,” Jio further stated

Airtel had said that provision of the interconnect points to Jio has been done at a “staggering pace” and is near-comparable to the infrastructure set-up it has with other large operators such as Vodafone and Idea Cellular

“Ever since the commercial launch of services by Jio in September 2016, Airtel has honoured its regulatory obligations and ensured that there are no capacity constraints from its end, and customers are not inconvenienced. In fact, Airtel has been providing points of interconnect to Jio, well ahead of the commencement of its commercial operations,” the company said.

“It, therefore, appears that the constant rhetoric by Jio with regard to interconnect points is aimed at covering
up technical issues in their own network or their inability to activate the points given.”

Jio refused any technical issues with its network.

The provision of interconnect points to Jio has emerged as a thorny issue for older telecom companies such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. In October, Trai had recommended a whopping Rs 3,050 crore on the three companies for not providing adequate interconnect points to Jio, finding them guilty of anti-consumer behavior in violation of mobile license terms and conditions. TRAI’s recommendations have been questioned by the government’s inter-ministerial telecom commission.

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Sameeksha Bhardwaj, From ITvoir News Desk

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