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Decongestion: Jio hails Airtel's fair practice

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MUMBAI: Reliance Jio has welcomed Airtel's decision to provide moreB points of interconnection in line with fair business practices and Trai regulations. Bharti Airtel Limited has indicated its decision in its press statement.

RJIL has been writing regularly to Airtel and other incumbent operators regarding its requirement for interconnection capacity over the last few months. Necessary details have been provided to Airtel from time to time, highlighting the urgency of the requirement and the impact on Quality of Service parameters. However, no action was taken over the last several weeks, resulting in non-compliance of Trai regulation on quality of service which mandates that POI congestion should not affect more than one call in every 200 calls made.

The situation deteriorated significantly in the last few weeks, with over 75 calls failing out of every 100 call attempts. In last 10 days alone, over 22 crore calls on the Airtel network failed, while 52 crore calls failed cumulatively on the networks of the three incumbent operators viz. Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd.

While RJIL has rolled out a state-of-the-art network, the benefits of superior voice technology have been denied to Indian customers due to the POI congestion. Indian customers have not been able to enjoy RJIL's free voice offer as a result of such anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent operators.

RJIL has been raising the issue of insufficient POIs as anti-competitive aimed at hindering the entry of a new operator. Such hurdles result in poor experience for RJIL customers who are trying to make calls to incumbent operators' networks. "We have repeatedly appealed to the incumbent operators to create a fair and reciprocal framework of coopetition that is good for India and Indian customers," RJIL stated.

On the unsubstantiated apprehension regarding asymmetric voice traffic raised by Airtel, RJIL clarified that the voice traffic on its network is in line with industry trends and as expected for any new operator. When a new operator begins its operations, its customer base is understandably low and a large proportion of these are new numbers that are not yet in the address book with whom they communicate. Therefore, in the early days of operations of any new operator, there are more outgoing calls than incoming calls. Over time, as the customer base grows, this asymmetry reduces and the traffic becomes symmetric.

RJIL’s outgoing traffic is less than two calls per customer per hour even during peak traffic period, which requires only a reasonable number of POIs. These calls are not to one operator but distributed over all the operators. Incumbent operators are describing such a modest call rate as a Tsunami of traffic from RJIL.

Moreover, asymmetry of traffic has absolutely nothing to do with the number of POIs required, which is based on the total traffic in both directions and not just in one direction. The equipment required for POI are two-way trunks, which means that the same equipment is used for both directions. No additional equipment is needed for handling the calls coming from RJIL to the other operator. It is therefore in customer interest to have adequate interconnection capacity irrespective of direction of traffic.

RJIL hoped that Airtel as well as other incumbent operators would enhance the PoIs sufficient to meet their license obligation of QoS with immediate effect and maintain these parameters on an ongoing basis.

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