TRAI considers action against incumbents over RJIL call failure rate

27 Sep 2016

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has warned that it may take action against incumbent cellcos over the rate of call failure between their networks and that of newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL), following reports that upwards of 80% of calls from RJIL customers to its competitors’ networks were failing. The Economic Times quotes TRAI chairman Ram Sevak Sharma as saying that the failure rate was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘constitutes non-compliance of licence conditions related to interconnection and quality of service (QoS) norms on congestion levels at points of interconnection (PoIs).’ Mr Sharma added that the regulator was now monitoring call traffic data on a day-to-day basis, and would seek explanations from the incumbents before deciding on what legal action would need to be taken.

RJIL has been embroiled in a long-running battle with incumbents Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India over PoIs in the lead up to its commercial launch earlier this month. The operator, which is offering its services free of charge until the end of the year, has promised to provide subscribers with free unlimited voice services on all of its plans. At launch, however, RJIL complained that the market’s three largest cellcos had not provided sufficient PoIs, leading to a call failure rate far in excess of the 0.5% maximum set by the TRAI. The trio responded by warning that their networks would be flooded by a ‘tsunami’ of calls from RJIL’s user base, arguing that the asymmetry caused by RJIL’s offer of free calls would clog their networks. In the weeks since the launch, the trio have softened their stance and all three have agreed to co-operate and provide more PoIs to the cellco, but RJIL claims that the measures are still insufficient. Most recently, the cellco said that of a total 150 million call attempts made on 22 September, 120 million failed.