RJio alleges bias in favour of rivals; seeks COAI overhaul

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018

Reliance Jio has sought an overhaul of regulations and processes governing one of the most powerful industry lobby group, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), aimed at getting an equal say for newer and smaller telecom operators.

In a letter to COAI, RJio said that under the existing rules, the association is basically representing the voice of the top three operators — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

It further said there is a need to appoint a committee consisting of three retired Supreme Court judges to overhaul COAI regulations and processes, making sure these fall in line with the fundamental democratic principles of reasonableness, fairness, accountability and transparency, with provisions for adequate measures to prevent any abuse in future.

Interconnection issue

The move comes after the COAI took a stand against RJio on the issue of interconnection recently. COAI regulations are overwhelmingly biased and lopsided and have been framed to subserve the vested interests of the three incumbent dominant operators, namely, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea (incumbent dominant operators — IDO).”

The IDOs, with a 60.84 per cent market share based on revenues, command seven votes each in COAI. Apart from the IDOs, there are four core members having a combined total of 10 votes shared amongst them. The incumbent operators command 68 per cent of the total votes.

“Though each core member nominates one representative to the Executive Council, the voting in the Council again follows the voting rights of the members, resulting in the entire Council being usurped by the IDOs,” RJio said.

“The entire decision making power and authority rests only with the IDOs. The other core members have been reduced to a nullity and their presence will always be inconsequential. The IDOs have put themselves in an unassailable position of influencing every decision at COAI only to serve their vested interest to the exclusion of other core members,” it added.

Responding to the attack, the COAI launched a point-by-point counter offensive, where it said RJio’s move to label the established operators as IDOs is “slanderous” and “mischievous”.

Published on September 25, 2016

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