Ahead of Thursday’s meeting on service quality and call drops, COAI today urged the Standing Committee on IT to also hear out operators including Airtel, Idea and Vodafone for a fairer assessment of the situation. Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that many of the issues fall within the ambit of bilateral commercial agreement and are best explained by individual licencees.
In a letter addressed to Anurag Singh Thakur, Chairman of Standing Committee on Information Technology, COAI suggested, “…in order to assist the committee in this important exercise, the other members of COAI namely, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Aircel and Telenor and the members of AUSPI be also called to depose before the committee and furnish all relevant information and data for the consideration…”
AUSPI stands for Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India and its members include Anil Ambani promoted Reliance Communications as well as Tata Teleservices. Noting that the cellular association as well as Reliance Jio – promoted by Mukesh Ambani – have been asked to appear before the Standing Committee this week, COAI said many of these issues lie within the ambit of bilateral commercial pacts.
“Many of the issues pertaining to the subject are best explained by individual member companies, who are also licensees, as these issues lie within the ambit of bilateral commercial agreements between members,” COAI said.
The networks and technologies vary among members and hence the companies themselves are best placed to explain the nuances involved, it added.
“Hence, we would…request that with the objective of obtaining a full, complete and fair understanding of the matter under discussion, all member companies of COAI and AUSPI be called to present before the Standing Committee on Information Technology,” COAI added.
On November 10, the Parliamentary panel is scheduled to hear the views of COAI and Reliance Jio, followed by a meeting with representatives of DoT and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on the issue of call drops. As such, call drops are rampant in the country with telecom operators of late making some effort to improve the situation by installing more telecom towers.
Reliance Jio, also a member of COAI, has blamed the industry body for airing views of incumbent telecom operators on issues such as points of interconnect, and related service quality and congestion. Following a tussle between Reliance Jio and incumbent operators on points of interconnect, the telecom regulator recently recommended a penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on the operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — holding them responsible for congestion on the newcomer’s network leading to call drops.