Jio interconnection issue : airtel and Vodafone may get relief from DoT
New Delhi, The Department of Telecommunications may reject the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to impose a fine of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) for failing to provide interconnection points to Reliance Jio in 2016, according to a Financial Express article, in the context of a huge backlog of AGR dues payments and the upcoming spectrum auctions.
Factors such as the lack of approval by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Telecom and IT, and the new telecommunications regulator may also indirectly contribute to providing relief to telecoms, the publication said.
Last year, following Trai’s insistence, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the apex decision-making body of the telecommunications department, authorised the penalty number in July.
The Trai had proposed a penalty levy of Rs 50 crore in 21 circles on Bharti Airtel and Vi each, while in 19 circles, as per the publication, a similar fine was levied on Idea Cellular.
A fine of Rs 1,050 crore was then levied on Airtel and Vi each, while it was Rs 950 crore for Concept. Vodafone and Idea combined in August 2018, and Vodafone Idea was christened.
After noticing a high degree of congestion in the three telcos’ networks, the Trai had proposed the penalties, leading to call failures made to and from Jio networks.
However, the telcos argued that the imposition of fines on the basis of regular monitoring of network congestion was arbitrary and should instead have been tracked weekly. They also confirmed that they were compliant with the 90-day notice period to provide the interconnection points.
AIRTEL POSTPAID PLAN
With Airtel’s Rs 399 post-paid contract, close to Vodafone, you don’t get free OTT benefits. Airtel customers will have to purchase a Rs 499 postpaid plan, which will provide them with 75 GB of rollover facility FUP data. The package also includes unlimited calls and 100 SMS a day, as well as Airtel Thanks rewards access. With this package, Airtel doesn’t offer free Netflix and you only get one year of Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar VIP.
VI POSTPAID PLAN
Vi, formerly known as Vodafone, also has a postpaid Rs 399 plan. But with this one, you’re not getting an OTT subscription for free. The plan ships with FUP data of just 40GB and supports rollover data of up to 200GB. The telecommunications giant also makes unlimited calls and 100 text messages every day. Vi Movies & TV apps can also be downloaded for free.
Ambani said that India’s entry of the 5G network in India would aid in the country’s attempts to become “Atma Nirbhar” and will also enable the country to play a larger role by leading it from the front in the fourth industrial revolution.
“Jio’s 5G service will be a testimony to your inspiring vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat. I can say with utmost confidence that 5G will enable India to not only participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution but also to lead it.”
Interestingly, Ambani’s comments come from his competitor, Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, stating that the implementation of 5G technology in India would take another two-three years to complete. Mittal has said that it would take more time for the next generation of mobile technology to roll out across the world. The decision-makers of Airtel, including its chief executive, Gopal Vittal, have said in the past that the 5G ecosystem is underdeveloped and that the spectrum is costly.
Jio is partnering with companies like Samsung and Qualcomm in order to bring 5G to existence in India. At the 43rd Reliance Industries Annual General Meeting in July, Ambani declared that Jio would start testing the country’s 5G network as soon as the spectrum was available. In order to build a homegrown 5G solution, the telecom was also teased.
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