Jio has charged Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular of turning down requests from customers to port their numbers to the Jio network. Bharti and Vodafone have denied the charges.
In a letter dated September 14 and addressed to Trai Chairman RS Sharma, Jio called for imposing financial disincentives to make these operators play by the rule book. It said the incumbents’ action was a “blatant disregard” for licence conditions. It even sought revocation of their licences if they continue to deny mobile number portability.
The regulator “must direct the dominant incumbent operators to comply with the licence terms and obligations”, Jio said. Both Bharti and Vodafone spokesmen have said they were meeting all MNP requests as per guidelines.
There is also a clash of interests between Jio and incumbent operators on Trai’s discussion paper on boosting broadband penetration through low-cost WiFi in public places. Jio and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry body representing Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, have differed on a host of issues, including the core objectives of the WiFi technology and the need to de-licence more spectrum for WiFi services.
The regulator persuaded the two sides last week to resolve issues around points of interconnect, one of the major reasons for the tension between the two sides. Following their meeting, Bharti, Vodafone and Idea said they would provide more points of interconnect to Jio — these are required to take calls made on one network to another. WiFi and MNP are now emerging as the next major issue of conflict of interests.