Bharti Airtel – which has been engaged in an interconnectivity tiff with Reliance Jio – said it has received payment from the new entrant for additional points of interconnect, and sought Jio’s cooperation for timely testing and commissioning of the network ports.
Airtel said while interconnect agreement provides for a commissioning period of 90 days, the company will work towards releasing the points of interconnect or PoIs “well ahead” of the contractual obligation. The telecom operator said it has ensured there are no capacity constraints from its end. “We hope Jio will extend its full cooperation to ensure timely testing and commissioning of the PoIs,” it said in a statement. Airtel released ‘demand notes’ for the additional PoIs on September 14 itself, the statement said adding that the payment against the demand notes came in over the next two days. “The payment against the demand notes was received in parts by Airtel on September 15, 2016 and September 16, 2016.
As per the bilateral agreement, Airtel and Jio will now have to jointly undertake the physical connection and testing of the PoIs. Consequent to successful testing of the PoIs, these will be opened for traffic,” the statement said. Interconnection between telecom networks is crucial as it enables mobile users to make calls to subscribers of other operator.
The three incumbent operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea – had locked horns with new entrant over points of interconnect. However, following TRAI’s intervention and a warning from the regulator on complying with service quality norms, the warring sides came to the negotiation table to discuss additional connectivity points needed by Reliance Jio.
During course of the week, all three private operators have agreed to augment the interconnection capacity, a move that is expected to facilitate easy exchange of calls between subscribers of Jio and other networks. Reliance Jio, which commercially launched services on September 5, has accused the existing players of not releasing sufficient ports on their networks, thereby leading to a situation where 75 of its calls are failing, out of every 100 call attempts.
But Airtel said with the latest augmentation, the total number of PoIs provided will become three times the present level. “This capacity will be sufficient to serve over 15 million customers, which is much more than Jio’s total subscriber base…,” Airtel said. The telecom major said it has been providing interconnectivity to Jio “well ahead” of the commencement of latter’s commercial operations and said it will continue to comply with the regulations and the Interconnect Agreements in letter and spirit.