Telecom wars: Jio, Airtel again hurl accusations at each other
19 September 2016
The spat between Reliance Jio Infocomm and the established operators led by Bharti Airtel, which had shown signs of cooling down, heated up again over the weekend, with Jio and Airtel issuing counter-statements to each other.
Reliance Jio accused Bharti Airtel of not releasing as many points of interconnection (PoIs) as had been agreed upon by the two sides, a charge that the nation's top telecom operator denied.
In its counter attack, Airtel said Jio's rhetoric could well be a ploy to cover up technical issues in the new operator's network, which could be the actual reason for calls failing. Jio issued another statement, calling Airtel's comments "misleading and unfortunate".
After what appeared to be a regulator-induced truce on the issue of PoIs following meetings less than 10 days back, Sunday's comments from both side set the stage for a round two of the battle with the incumbent operators on one side and Jio on the other.
Jio on Sunday accused Airtel of not honouring its commitment on the number of PoIs to be released. The points that were proposed to be released by the market leader was less than one-fourth of the required interconnection capacity, it said.
"The quantum of PoIs proposed to be released by Airtel is substantially less than the requirement estimated based on transparent workings shared with Airtel," Jio said, adding that owing to Airtel's "dilly-dallying" on the issue, as many as two crore calls were failing on Jio's network on a daily basis.
Airtel reacted through its own statement later in the day saying the number of PoIs released by it was "sufficient to serve over 15 million customers, which is much more than their (Jio's) present subscriber base and their demand for 10 million projected customers".
Airtel accused Jio of trying to co ver up technical faults in its voice over LTE (VoLTE) network by raising the PoI issue. Call drops or the lack of VoLTE stabilisation "should not be hidden behind the issue of POIs", which were being aug mented at regular and quick intervals, the company said.
Jio issued a second statement on Sunday, saying that there are no incidents of call failures within its own network.
"We also invite in dependent third par ties such as TERM (DoT) to inspect and confirm that there are zero call failures on Jio network," it said.
Airtel has further denied Jio's charge of rejecting subscriber requests to port out from its network to that of the newcomer. "On the issue of MNP (mobile number portability), Airtel has already stated that it is processing all requests as per guidelines. Airtel ports-in and ports-out thousands of customers every day from across operators," it said.
The company called Jio's accusation of not porting out 69 odd port out requests "rather flimsy".
But in the second statement, Jio stood by its accusations against Airtel on MNP.
"It cannot be coincidental that all requests made for MNP to port to Jio network have been rejected by Airtel on unsubstantiated grounds and not even one MNP request has been approved, when Airtel claims that it ports-out thousands of customers every day across operators," Jio said. "It clearly establishes that this is being done deliberately when requests come to port to Jio network."
The issue of points of interconnection has been a sore point between Jio and the incumbents which appeared to be resolved last week after the telecom regulator asked operators to mutually resolve the issue and ensure that subscribers don't face inconvenience.
After the meeting, the top three incumbents - Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular - agreed to release sufficient PoIs to Jio. (See: Telecom spat cools down: Vodafone to hike PoIs for Jio).