TRAI tightens the screws on interconnectivity for telcos

Mumbai: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a mandate to service providers directing them to enter into an interconnection agreement on a “non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving a connectivity request from another mobile operator.

The regulator’s release on the subject comprises regulations on important aspects of interconnection such as interconnection agreement, provisioning of initial interconnection and augmentation of points of interconnection (Pols), interconnection charges, disconnection of Pols, and the financial disincentive on interconnection matters.  

The regulations will come into effect from 1 February 2018 and “will apply to all the service providers offering telecom services in India,” the TRAI release stated.

Through these regulations, the TRAI has mandated that every service provider shall, within thirty days of receipt of request from a service provider, enter into an interconnection agreement. In has also laid down the framework for provisioning and augmentation of ports at Pols, which stipulates a step­by-step process for provisioning of ports at Pols.

In October 2016, the TRAI had issued a consultation paper on 'Review of Regulatory Framework for Interconnection' for seeking comments of the stakeholders. The comments and counter-comments received from the stakeholders were uploaded on the TRAI's website.

The issue of interconnectivity was a bone of contention in 2016 between then newbie Reliance Jio and other established telecom companies such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

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