Trai says interconnect situation better; Voda, Idea meeting norms

Terming the overall Points of Interconnect (PoI) situation as ‘better’ than before, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said Vodafone and Idea Cellular are meeting norms in all circles.

For Bharti Airtel, the congestion level is beyond the permissible limit in eight circles.

“It is much, much better than what it was,” Trai Chairman R S Sharma told PTI when asked about the status of PoI congestion, an issue that has been a flashpoint between Reliance Jio and incumbent operators.

“I am told PoI congestion vis-a-vis Vodafone and Idea is in a very good shape. Airtel has also reduced considerably but in some circles, it is beyond the permissible limit of 0.5 per cent,” Sharma said.

On January 16, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said call failure rates continued to be of the order of 175 calls failing out of every 1,000 from Reliance Jio to the Airtel network when the service quality regulations mandate that no more than five calls out of every 1,000 calls can fail.

RIL’s telecom venture,  Reliance Jio, which has clocked 72.4 million subscribers within four months of full launch, said it continues to face congestion issues, as interconnect capacity provided by some large operators is ‘still way below requirement’.

Citing data available with Trai as on January 22, Sharma noted that both Vodafone and Idea are measuring up to the stipulated benchmarks in all circles. “Congestion in the case of Bharti Airtel is for eight circles,” he said. The chairman said there were some ‘minor’ issues with regard to PoIs for National Long Distance service. “But,  broadly, the things are clear as far as our statistics are concerned on PoIs for access services,” he said.

Sharma said Trai had got assurances from operators for provision of adequate and appropriate number of PoIs, and reduction of congestion levels. “We will continue to work with the concerned operators to improve the situation. The Trai secretary has had a number of meetings with the operators concerned, reviewed the situation and we continue to look at it,” he said.

Over the last few months, Trai has meeting operators at regular intervals to emphasise that for customer convenience and consumer protection, it is important that benchmarks pertaining to call drops are met and that violation should not continue any further.

New entrant Reliance Jio had accused incumbent operators of not providing it sufficient PoIs leading to massive call failures, while the operators have blamed the free calls offered by the newcomer for tsunami of network traffic.

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