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Call Connect: TRAI Now Bats For The Middle Way

The fight between incumbent operators and Reliance Jio over points of interconnect (PoIs) — these points connect calls between two different networks — which ran full steam in the latter half of 2016, continues on the regulatory front.

Back in 2016, mobile operators were required to provide PoIs to each other on demand within a period of 90 days. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India reduced the span to 21 days in February this year. When the incumbents protested that this is too short a period, the Trai on Tuesday came out with a fresh draft which suggests that PoIs should be provided within a period of 42 days.

The regulation will be finalised after the regulator receives inputs from the stakeholders.

The matter of PoIs, how much is to be given and within what time-frame had become a major flashpoint post-September 2016 when Reliance Jio had launched
its services.

It accused the incumbent operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular, of not giving it the required number of PoIs leading to call congestion on its network.

Later, Trai recommended imposing Rs 1,050-crore penalty each on Bharti and Vodafone and Rs 950 crore on Idea Cellular for violating quality of service rules. The regulator at that time, had stated that it found the trio non-compliant with licence conditions and service quality norms, given the high rate of call failures and congestion at interconnect points for Reliance Jio.

The draft regulations released by Trai on Tuesday has also proposed that an operator can ask another operator for additional ports, in case the projected utilisation of the capacity is likely to exceed 85% over a 60 day period.

The Trai said that an operator will have to give a forecast of outgoing call traffic of busy hours for each interconnect point once every six months — April 1 and October 1 — to the interconnecting service provider. The first such forecast has to be given within two months from the commencement of these amended regulations. – Financial Express

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