The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) today announced new interconnection regulations mandating a service provider to enter into interconnection agreement "on non-discriminatory basis" within 30 days of receipt of connectivity request from any other operator.
"After entering into an interconnection agreement, the service provider, who made request for entering into interconnection agreement, may request the other service provider to provide such number of ports at POIs, which shall meet the requirement of its outgoing and incoming traffic at the POIs for a period of three months from the date of initial interconnection," Trai said.
Trai said the new interconnection regulations mandated each operator to respect other operator's request within 30 days of receiving such request, adding that the new interconnect rules will come into effect from 1 February.
The regulator has prescribed that the interconnection agreement between parties should be on 'non-discriminatory in nature' and any violations to the new interconnect rules attract penalty of Rs 1 lakh per day.
''If any service provider contravenes the provisions of these regulations, it shall, without prejudice to any penalty which may be imposed under its licence, or the provisions of the Act or rules or orders made or directions issued, thereunder, be liable to pay an amount, by way of financial disincentive not exceeding rupees one lakh per day per licensed service area,'' Trai stated in the new guidelines named 'The Telecommunication Interconnection Regulations, 2018'.
''Through these regulations, the authority has mandated that every service provider shall, within thirty days of receipt of request from a service provider, enter into interconnection agreement, on non-discriminatory basis, with such service provider,'' TRAI said in its announcement. ''The authority has also laid down a framework for provisioning of ports at POIs, which stipulates a step-by-step process for provisioning of ports at POIs.''
Trai announced the new interconnect rules after a detailed discussion and consultation starting October 2016. This was followed up by an open house discussion.
The issue of 'point of interconnect' became a hot topic after the entry of Reliance Jio after the Mukesh Ambani-led firm accused incumbent operators – Vodafone, Airtel and Idea - of preventing the new operator from accessing enough PoIs, which, it claimed, affected its service delivery.
The incumbents, on the other hand, said there was a huge anomaly between the incoming and outgoing traffic from the new operator's network. The two parties then moved Trai, the court as well as TDSAT to resolve the issue.