RJio terms IUC review paper ‘arbitrary’

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on October 20, 2019

Reliance Jio accused the Consultancy Paper of not addressing the disproportionate adoption of 4G technology by incumbent operators   -  REUTERS

Says it adversely affects the credibility of the authority and investors confidence


Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has termed telecom regulator’s proposals on Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) as “anti-poor” and “arbitrary”.

Further, the company controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani also said that it sabotages Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India mission. “…the implementation of the Bill and Keep (BAK) regime is not only wholly arbitrary, bad in law, unwarranted, and anti-poor, but it also adversely affects the credibility of the authority and investor’s confidence,” RJio said in its official response to a Consultancy Paper (CP) on IUC floated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

‘Extortionist rates’

Attacking incumbents, Jio stated that by deliberately refusing to end 2G services and upgrade their networks to 4G, these operators are exploiting their customers mainly by “high and extortionist” rates.

“It is unfortunate that instead of profiting the poor and the marginalised sections of society, the CP has chosen to help profiteers in the telecom business. And, instead of a strong regulatory push for India’s rapid technology advancement at a time when the world is moving towards 5G, the CP wants India to remain technologically-stagnant and backward,” it alleged.

It also accused the CP of not addressing the apparent disproportionate adoption of 4G technology by incumbent operators. Clearly, it said that the difference between the 4G data users and voice users is large enough to warrant such an enquiry.

Traffic asymmetry

“The percentage of 4G voice traffic is at 5 per cent and 18 per cent against the much higher percentage, that is 26 per cent and 33 per cent of 4G subscribers – which also leads to an interference that there is an internal suppression of data and information by these operators to show low adoption of 4G,” it added.

On September 18, TRAI had invited comments on ‘Review of Interconnection Usage Charges’ on its paper to re-examine the January 1, 2020, deadline for service providers to end IUC.

The CP has not been issued to address traffic asymmetry, but to address the claimed financial stress of one or two operators at the cost of the interests of the subscribers and the telecom sector, RJio said in its response.

RJio, the latest entrant into Indian telecom sector, also said that if TRAI had “recalculated termination charges, it would be less than 1 paise per minute at this stage”.

Published on October 20, 2019

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