Calls with Bharti AirtelBSE -1.20 % showed the most improvement with the provisioning of additional points of interconnection (PoIs), two people aware of the matter told ET.
Daily call failures between Jio and Airtel’s networks is down to 56% of all calls from nearly 73% on September 23, while it’s at 62% with No. 3 Idea CellularBSE -0.63 %, compared with over 75% earlier. Call failure levels with Vodafone India, the country’s No. 2 telco, however continue to be as high as 75%, though it’s a bit lower from the 83.5% recorded earlier, one of the people cited above said.
The call failure rates though are still far higher than the less than 0.5% mandated by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) which has set October 17 as the deadline for incumbent mobile phone companies to comply with the quality of standards norms.
Mukesh Ambani-run Jio did not reply to ET’s queries while an AirtelBSE -1.20 % spokesperson said the PoI issue is “a bilateral one between the two operators” that is being managed between the two companies.
Jio and India’s largest telcos have been involved in a bitter war of words for around over a month over the PoI and the call failure issue, with the new entrant accusing incumbent operators were using it as a means to sabotage its entry by not releasing adequate PoIs. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea responded, saying adequate PoIs had already been provided.
Airtel also blaming the newest telecom operator’s problems to its under-preparedness and sizeable customer acquisitions before its commercial launch.
Jio complained to Trai, accusing the top telcos of violating quality of service norms by not providing adequate PoIs, a contention which has been prima facie accepted by the regulator, which has since ordered compliance.
The situation is improving but a lot more needs to be done. Trai is watching the situation very closely,” a senior official told ET, referring to call failures. Call failures is different from call drops. The former refers to a situation when a call doesn’t even connect, but a call drop is when a call connects but then falls.
Bharti Airtel is learnt to have provisioned nearly 4,000 E1 links (interconnect points) to Jio so far, the second person cited said, but this could not be independently confirmed from either Airtel or Jio.
In response to ET’s queries, a Vodafone India spokesman said the company had beefed up (interconnect) capacity by increasing the number of PoIs to Jio by as much as three times in the last few days, but said “the issues it has consistently raised need to be duly considered and resolved at the earliest”. He didn’t specify the issues at hand.
Sources say Vodafone has provided more than 3,500 PoIs.
Idea did not reply to ET’s queries at press time. As on September 23, the telco had provided a shade over 2100 PoIs to Jio, but their latest numbers weren’t available.
Meanwhile, incumbent telcos are awaiting Trai’s views on whether Jio’s free voice and data offer from September 5 till the end of the year goes against norms that set a 90-day limit for promotional plans.
Besides, Trai also needs to revert to the telcos with its views on whether Jio violated the Telecom Tariff Order (TTO) of 2004 by offering free voice calls for life.
The TTO of 2004 mandates that telco tariffs must be non-predatory, non-discriminatory and compliant with interconnection usage charges (IUC), a fee payable to an operator for receiving calls from other networks.