Sunday, January 16, 2022

Tussle between telcos: COAI now seeks clarification from communications ministry

Earlier in the day, Manoj Sinha said that the consumer’s interest will be paramount and the government does not discriminate between incumbents and new entrants in the sector.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
August 13, 2016 3:16:22 am
COAI telecommunications, COAI trai, telcos tussle, coai telcos tussle, business news, reliance jio, india news, tech news, Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha at Rail Bhavan in New Delhi. (Source: Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Following several letters from both the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd to the government, alleging each other of foul play, the industry body on Friday met both the secretary, Department of Telecommunications, JS Deepak and Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha seeking clarification from the government on parameters such as time period, subscribers, and usage for test services by new operators.

“The situation is right now in an impasse with neither parties willing to blink. It’s time an umpire steps in and says it’s an LBW or not,” Rajan S Mathews, Director-General of COAI said.

Earlier in the day, Manoj Sinha said that the consumer’s interest will be paramount and the government does not discriminate between incumbents and new entrants in the sector. He also said that the DoT will seek clarity on a defined difference between commercial services and trial services from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. He did not define a timeframe for sending queries to Trai.

In the meeting with Deepak, Mathews said, the COAI representatives also raised the issue of recent developments from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that the association alleged to be seemingly biased against the incumbents.

On Thursday, the body raised its concerns with Trai’s developments by writing a letter to Nripendra Misra, principal secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office. Though it did not explicitly name Reliance Jio, the new entrant, COAI said the company had a divergent views than the incumbents.

On the issue of Trai’s recent paper on amending the interconnect usage charges (IUC), Mathews said Trai’s move to bring out a consultation shortly before the spectrum auction dates being announced raised some “red flags” and the exercise could potentially throw in uncertainty to the auction process.

He said reducing the interconnect charges could hurt the incumbents, adding that the top three to four operators earned a combined net IUC to the tune of Rs 8,000 crore annually.

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