hiddenSep 13, 2016 11:19:27 IST
Telecom operator Idea Cellular today said it will provide more interconnect points shortly to Reliance Jio network which will support call traffic of 1.85 million additional customers of the new entrant. But in the same breath, Idea said that it is incurring huge cost due to the high number of incoming calls from Reliance Jio network.
"Unless controlled, this induced traffic asymmetry is expected to exacerbate the loss in coming months," an Idea statement said. The move to provide additional facility for network interconnection comes within three days of telecom regulator Trai intervening in the feud between incumbent mobile operators -- Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular -- and new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm.
The tussle is over call failures experienced by subscribers of the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom firm due to insufficient points of interconnection being made available by the existing operators. "Idea has now decided to proactively expand capacity with Jio to over 6.5 million subscribers, with the release of 196 additional POIs, shortly. This additional capacity will provide for a buffer of 119 per cent against the August subscriber volumes," Idea said.
Idea - the third largest mobile operator in the country - further claimed that calls from nearly 2.97 million unique Jio subscribers terminated on its network in August 2016. "Our current allocation of POIs would in normal circumstances cater to 4.65 million such subscribers indicating a buffer of 57 per cent in calling capacity," it said.
Idea is the first of the three incumbent telecom operators to agree to offer additional interconnection ports for Jio. This will enable more calls from Jio customers to connect with subscribers on Idea network. However, the Aditya Birla group firm said that it awaits regulatory intervention to address the asymmetry of traffic issue and ensure compliance of existing interconnection usage charge (IUC) regulations.
"Separately, TRAI has been informed that in August 2016, there existed an unprecedented asymmetry of traffic of 14.5 times between Idea and Jio. Never ever has such a high asymmetry been observed with a new operator in the past," the statement said. Idea said that its real cost of call termination is significantly higher than the current interconnect settlement charge of 14 paise per minute as prescribed in the present IUC regime.
"We are hopeful that the TRAI will urgently examine these threshold issues and will ensure that all parties are compliant to the letter and spirit of the Law," it said. Welcoming Jio, Idea said it remains committed to "facilitate its seamless entry into the hyper-competitive market" and "will continue to support all new operators for all their reasonable, fair and legitimate requirements of POIs".
Disclaimer: Reliance Jio is owned by Reliance Industries, who also own Network18, the publisher of Firstpost and Tech2.
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