Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended a fine of INR30.5 billion ($455 million) on the country’s top three service provider, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India for failure to provide adequate interconnection points to the Greenfield operator, Reliance Jio.
Jio has launched the services in early September this year. The company had alleged that the incumbent players were deliberately not providing interconnection. Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), a body representing the GSM service providers, has said that it is disappointed by the size of the penalties.
The incumbent operators had earlier agreed to provide additional interconnection points to handle the calls made growing number of Jio’s customers. Reliance Jio is offering free voice calling to its subscribers, which has led to an increased number of calls being made by their subscribers. In August Jio requested 12,000 interconnection points to handle its expected 22 million customers, but the incumbents only gave it 1,400, the company said.
After initial hesitation, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India had agreed to offer additional interconnection points to Jio’s subscribers. However, Jio says that it hasn’t seen a significant improvement in the number of dropped calls, which it says is because of lack of interconnect points.
The incumbents and Jio have been locked in a war of words for almost two months now since Jio alleged deliberate sabotaging of its entry by the incumbent players. Jio had subsequently decided to complain to the country’s telecom Regulator, which has now slapped a huge penalty on the incumbent players.