Airtel, Idea and Vodafone accused of deliberately depriving Reliance Jio of interconnection points, to be fined Rs. 3050 crore

By on Email @exolete

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested a penalty of Rs. 50 crore per circle for 21 circles on Airtel and Vodafone, while Idea Cellular will be fined Rs. 50 crore for the 19 circles it operates on. All three incumbent players are expected to get fined due to them not conforming to TRAI regulation of providing adequate Points of Interconnect to let calls through.

Reliance Jio had filed complaints with TRAI at many occasions expressing concern over the crores of failed calls due to congestion caused by the lack of interconnection points (POIs.)

Based on available evidence, TRAI has recommended to the DoT to fine Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular a total of Rs. 3050 crores. The regulatory body added that they understood that the only reason for not providing adequate POIs was to curb the competition and is inherently anti-competitive. This is being seen as an intentional move by incumbent operators to degrade Reliance Jio's QoS for end-users.

TRAi had been monitoring congestion levels in all circles after it had given a show cause notice to all incumbents on the matter of excessive call drops. They found the congestion levels to be as high as 96% in some circles against the permissible limit of 0.5%. While the regulatory body had thought of recommending cancellation of licenses of Airtel, Idea, and Vodafone, they decided against it in view of consumer interest and has asked for a penalty to be applied instead.