More reports on: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Airtel, Voda calls Trai's move to refine mobile network testing a cover-up

21 June 2017

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have questioned the move by the Telecom Regulatory and Authority of India (Trai) to refine network testing as a cover-up for ignoring the core issue of Reliance Jio's market distortion through free and discounted service.

The telcos say the regulator's timing of recent paper on refining mobile network test rules is a 'disguise' after the damages done by Reliance Jio even as the latter refuted charges as 'malicious, unfounded, ill-informed and contrary to actual facts.'

While the new proposals will bring clarity to present rules and it is necessary to clear all ambiguities in the existing framework, Jio said the telecom majors are trying to create a non-issue out on network testing.

COAI, the industry body representing incumbent telecom operators had, in August 2016, accused Reliance Jio of bypassing regulations by offering full-fledged services under the guise of test connections and requested the Department of Telecom to ask Reliance Jio to immediately stop all connections provided to 1.5 million users.

Jio was providing free unlimited 4G data services and voice calls in the test phase since its 5 September 2016 launch of commercial service.

Reliance Jio had refuted charges as "malicious, unfounded, ill-informed, and frivolous and are contrary to actual facts".

The telecom majors feel sector regulator Trai is on the side of Reliance Jio in its tussle with the incumbent operators and that the consultation paper issued on 1 May to refine rules on network testing is also intended to benefit Reliance Jio.

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