Where Jio dares competitors, Telcos cartel connives to block Jio

by Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

parimal-nathwani-1“Competition is always a good thing. It forces us to do our best. A monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.” – Nancy Pearcy

It took a Jio Digital to shake up the complacency that existed amongst the telecom cartel that operates in India. Just the sheer response of the people before Reliance formally launched Jio should have been an indicator as to the extent of customer dissatisfaction that prevailed. It is a sad commentary that instead of gearing up for competition that is changing the rules of the game, they are busy using unfair means to block it. Ever since the launch of Reliance Jio, it has been a series of battles to be allowed call connect with other non-Jio networks or for mobile number portability.

Just a brief background, Reliance Jio had acquired pan India BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) spectrum in 2010. But the company only launched its commercial services on 5th September this year. But ever since the Jio services began, has witnessed 75-80 per cent call failures over the last few weeks. In over a period of 10 days alone, 52 crore calls failed cumulatively on the networks of the three incumbent operators Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. Isn’t blocking of calls a breach of licence conditions by the incumbent operators that severely impacts customer interests? Isn’t it unfair to allow them to monopolize the space and deny customers truly world class Internet services that Jio aspires to do? On bringing this to TRAI’s notice and after due diligence on the basis of the complaint “(TRAI) decided to issue show cause notice to concerned operators and also issue direction to them to ensure compliance of licensing condition in connection with the Points of Interconnect issue”.

Reliance Jio

Their attempt at thwarting the new entrant continues unabated. In yet another instance, the telecom operators are refusing to port mobile numbers to Jio Network. It is important to note that this is being done in blatant disregard to licence terms and their obligations under the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009. Jio has been certified as Mobile Number Portability (MNP) compliant by the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring Cells of all service area. In spite of being under legal and contractual obligation to port the numbers after a valid request is made, the incumbent dominant operators have rejected all the requests made for porting between September 9 and September 12. Almost all of these rejections have been made on the baseless and unsubstantiated ground of ‘violation of contractual obligation’. This has also been brought to the notice of the TRAI and their urgent intervention requested. This kind of arm twisting by the existing operators needs to be handled on an urgent basis.

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