Telecom Wars: Airtel and Jio fight it out over interconnection, call drops

Airtel charged Jio with dillydallying and deliberately not cooperating, Jio refuted it
Telecom Wars: Airtel and Jio fight it out over interconnection, call drops
Telecom Wars: Airtel and Jio fight it out over interconnection, call drops
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Reliance Jio on Sunday welcomed Bharti Airtel's decision to provide better interconnection for its calls. But it also said the number of such points proposed remained substantially less than actual requirement -- and these won't be able to address the issue of large-scale call drops. Airtel rebutted in a counter-statement.

"Based on the current traffic flow between the two networks, the proposed augmentation by Airtel would still only suffice for less than one-fourth of the required interconnection capacity," a Jio statement said.

"More than two crore calls are failing everyday between the two networks, which is far in excess of the quality of service parameters and of alarming proportions. Urgent steps are required to be taken in the interest of customers of both operators," the statement said.

"It is unfortunate that the Telecom Regulatory Authority's intervention was required for Airtel to resume augmentation of points of interconnection, which it ought to have done by itself in compliance with its licence terms."

The statement comes a day after Airtel said it has received the payments due on interconnection from Jio and that after executing the agreed augmentation in such points, their total number will be three times that at present. It also said the capacity will be sufficient to serve over 15 million Jio customers, and added it will be much more than Jio's subscriber base.

"While the interconnect agreement provides for a commissioning period of 90 days from the day Reliance Jio makes the payment, Airtel will work towards releasing the points of interconnect well ahead of the contractual obligation," said Airtel.

But this point was refuted by Jio.

"The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's regulation does not provide for 90 days to adhere to quality of service parameters. The authority, in fact, instructed the incumbent operators to urgently provide requisite interconnection capacities to maintain quality of service parameters and not to make this subject to any contingencies or restrictions."

Jio also found fault with the type of interconnection points Airtel was offering, and said it was a clear case of abuse of market dominance. 

"It appears that the quality of service will continue to suffer and Indian customers will be denied the benefits of superior and free voice services as a result of such anti-competitive behaviour."

But Airtel in a statement later charged Jio with dillydallying on the issue and deliberately not cooperating on interconnection. It also said such complaints may be a ploy by Jio to cover up some technical issues in their own network.

This was again refuted by Jio in another statement later on Sunday, while calling Airtel's rebuttal misleading and unfortunate.

"While there are over two crore call failures every day between the two networks (Jio to Airtel), there are no incidents of call failures within the Jio network," the Jio statement said.

It added that the company not only wanted subscribers to enjoy high-definition Jio-to-Jio calls, but was also invited third party, independent assesses like the resource and monitoring wing of the telecom department to confirm the veracity of its claims. 

Another issue of contention has been portability.

Jio said the rival has been blocking mobile number portability for migration of potential Airtel subscribers to Jio -- but the other side maintained that all requests were being processed as per guidelines. 


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