Faced with charges of “bypassing regulations” by cellular operator association COAI, the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio hit back on Wednesday, saying the claims are “malicious, unfounded, ill-informed and frivolous” and have been made with “ulterior motive” of promoting vested interests of incumbent operators.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had on Monday written to the department of telecom (DoT) to immediately ask Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to stop all connections provided to 1.5 million users as it had allegedly bypassed regulations by offering full-fledged services under the guise of tests.
Terming the COAI letter an exercise to promote the vested interests of incumbent operators, it said, “COAI has deliberately indulged in an unwarranted vilification campaign, not only against Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, but also against TRAI, the regulator... without any basis whatsoever.”
The company said it has created the world’s largest end-to-end all IP network and invested over ₹1.34 lakh crore, higher than the gross block of any incumbent operator. “Once launched, the services will cover over 18,000 towns and over 200,000 villages across all the 22 service areas of the country. The coverage will soon be increased to cover 90% of the population.”
Considering the large network, “the need for test trial of the network, including the technology, services deployment, commissioning and operationalisation, and related business processes relevant for the network, are immediately required in order to assure quality of service”, it said.
Rel Jio said it had informed DoT and TRAI from time to time about the need and process of test trials, which it said were in accordance with licence terms.
Without naming anyone, RJIL said the top three incumbent operators, who are core members of COAI, are opposing the downward revision of the rates charged from users on termination of calls on other networks, called IUC. Stating that the three players command a market share in excess of 65% in the one billion-plus subscribers market, it said, “It is simple math ... who will end up paying more IUC.”