Sector regulator TRAI, in a letter to Department of Telecom, had said that incumbent operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had ulterior motive to stifle competition and wilfully denied PoIs to Reliance Jio.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said this while standing by its earlier recommendation on imposing penalty of Rs 3050 crore on these three operators for not providing enough PoIs (points of interconnect) to Jio that led to massive call failures. The penalty break up for Airtel and Vodafone is Rs 1050 crore each and Rs 950 crore for Idea Cellular.
“..not only the steps taken by Airtel were insufficient to bring down the POI congestion to the desired level of 0.5% in most of the LSAs but also that Airtel appeared to have ulterior motive to stifle competition,” TRAI said in the letter. The regulator said the same thing for Vodafone and Idea.
The regulator said these operators, after repeated requests by Reliance Jio, and intervention by TRAI, have failed to provision sufficient PoIs to the new 4G operator which created quality of issue for consumers, which amounts to cancellation of license.
“The recommendations were framed only after observing a continued violation of QoS Regulations and license conditions by Airtel and (Vodafone and Idea),” TRAI said in a point-by-point response to DoT.
The regulator in the letter said the incumbent operators were capable to provide the required PoIs to Reliance Jio in order to enable a congestion free service but the operators denied and delayed the same deliberately.
“After intervention of the Authority, Airtel has provided POI capacity at much shorter notices (in some 7 instances within 2-3 days) implying that it was capable of providing such POIs without any delay,” TRAi said. “In this context, the denial and delay in providing POIs when the QoS parameters were not being met cannot be explained in any other manner but wilful.
TRAI, in October 2016, had asked the DoT to impose penalties of Rs 3050 crore on these three operators, but the DoT had asked the regulator for more clarification and to reconsider its recommendations.
TRAI, in response, offered clarification in a point-to-point manner to the department that was hitherto unseen in the Indian telecom industry.