New Delhi: Amid allegations and counter allegations over the issue of interconnectivity, India’s largest telecom operator Airtel has blamed Reliance Jio for network connectivity issues and call failures, saying they are due to the Mukesh Ambani-led company’s own "under-preparedness", insufficient testing efforts and acquiring a large number of customers at the pre-launch stage itself.
"While RJIO has continued to allege huge call failure on account of insufficient number of PoIs (points of interconnect), however, we believe that the prime reason for such call failures was on account of acquisition of a large number of subscribers by RJIO even before the declaration of the commercial launch,” Airtel said in a letter to Reliance Jio.
The letter, sent yesterday, goes on to say that augmentation of POIs based on actual traffic, necessitates a reciprocal action from the other party also.
"It is important to note, that despite our best efforts, the POIs are still in the process of augmentation due to issues at your end," Airtel said.
Airtel said that despite the prompt and colossal effort on its part, as on date, only 2,484 E1s (interconnect ports) are live out of a total capacity of 3,048 provided, primarily due to various reasons for delay "attributable solely to RJIO's under-preparedness and insufficient testing teams and efforts".
It added: "Even these capacities could be augmented with great persuasion by Airtel teams. During the augmentation exercise, your circles had cited issues with regard to Acceptance Testing, transmission media related concerns and hence the augmentation process took much longer and even till date the complete POI's have not been augmented due to unpreparedness of your teams."
The issues continue to impede the augmentation process, it said, pointing out further that its request to Jio to adopt immediate measures to balance the skewed traffic still remains unaddressed.
"Currently, 89 per cent of traffic originating from RJIO network is being terminated into Airtel network and is thereby creating asymmetry in traffic. This is a serious concern for us due to the below cost termination charge regime, every extra minute terminated by RJIO in our network, is causing a huge financial loss to Airtel," it added.
Reliance Jio, which has commercially launched its 4G services, has accused dominant incumbent operators, including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea of providing far less than adequate PoIs needed for its users to complete a call to a rival network. Jio has said its subscribers still face as many as 10 crore call failures a day while dialing into their networks.
Against a requirement of 4,000 to 5,000 points of interconnect (POI) per operator, the interconnections released are less than 2,000 by Airtel, about 1,500 by Vodafone and close to 1,600 by Idea, Reliance Jio said in a statement last week.
Airtel Vodafone and Idea have maintained that such points have been enhanced and adequate, and have charged Jio of unleashing a "tsunami" of free traffic on their networks.
Telecom regulator TRAI, which had asked the operators to submit their network congestion details from September 15-19, 2016, to examine the congestion issue, yesterday decided to issue showcause notices on erring operators for call drops far exceeding the norm.
Meanwhile, a former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court has said that incumbent operators - Airtel, Vodafone and Idea should be asked to pay a penalty of Rs 9,900 crore combined for alleged breach of licence conditions by not providing interconnection to Reliance Jio.
In a letter to Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha and Comptroller and Auditor General Shashi Kant Sharma, Justice BC Patel said he has been reading about the anti-competitive behaviour of incumbent telecom operators vis a vis Reliance Jio.
(With PTI inputs)