Jio, which started commercial telecom services on September 5, termed Airtel’s claims “malicious and misleading”. In a statement on Tuesday, it said Airtel was trying to divert attention from its own “anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions and violations of licence conditions which are being investigated by authorities”. It added that there were no technical issues on its network.
Airtel’s letter, a copy of which is believed to have also been sent to telecom minister Manoj Sinha and captured in a release issued earlier in the day, said the telco has released 35,000 points of interconnect to Jio in five months, while it had provided more than 40,000 points to Vodafone over 21years.
“The capacity provided is ideal for serving over 190 million customers on the Jio network and is more than double of the 72.5 million total customers currently claimed by Jio,” Airtel said. It appears that the “constant rhetoric by Jio with regard to PoIs is aimed at covering up technical issues in their own network or their inability to activate the PoIs given”.
Jio countered by saying that comparisons with PoIs provided to another operator were “arbitrary” and that the traffic from no two carriers will be the same. It noted that as of January 31, over 2.6 crore long-distance (STD) calls failed daily, amounting to a 53.4% call failure against 0.5% allowed by rules. It said failures on local calls had fallen to 0.6%.
On the 35,000 PoIs, Jio said Airtel has “not even done port allocation (the first step of implementation) for over 1,100 of these POIs. Airtel continues to issue demand notes for these POIs to slow down the process, whereas no payment is due under the interconnection agreement”.
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Airtel’s letter further explained that Jio’s offers of free voice and data have hurt its profitability and were not in compliance with the regulator’s tariff orders. Jio said its plans have been cleared by the regulator and called Airtel’s claim “defamatory”.
Airtel added that since Jio was offering free services, there has been “a tsunami of incoming voice traffic on the Airtel network, thereby, impacting the service experience of our customers”. It reiterated that the current termination charge (IUC) of 14 paise was less than half of the actual cost of terminating calls on the network, resulting in a huge loss to the company.