Mukesh Ambani today came down heavily on incumbent telecom operators for blocking Jio users’ calls.
While speaking at RIL’s atÂ 42ndÂ Annual General Meeting, Ambani accused incumbent telecom operators of not offering point of interconnections to its users.
Incumbents have an edge over new entrants who require fair access to point of interconnect to complete calls. So the onus is on the incumbents not to create unfair hurdles by interfering on interconnects, he said.
“In the last week Jio customers faced 500 crore call drops,” the RIL chairman revealed but he assuredJio subscribers saying, “I want to assure we have the highest quality and best voice network and you will experience voice like never before.”
He also requested telecom operators to allow mobile portability so that those who want can migrate to Reliance Jio’s services, citing that the incumbents have legal obligation.
Reliance Jio has been requesting COAI for additional point of interconnects but has not been successful so far.
On the other hand, other telecos are complaining thatÂ Reliance Jio’s prelaunch offers are clogging their network and thus leading to call drops. An excuse that is unlikely to wash with most consumers, and possibly the regulator itself, considering the still tiny base of Jio subscribers, as compared to incumbent numbers. To most outsiders, this would appear to be a clear case of incumbents using their last weapon against the Jio onslaught, with the best case scenario being more time for them to come up with coherent counters to protect their own subscriber flocks.
But with Reliance Jio now offering free SIM to everyone (fromÂ September 5), incumbent players’ headaches will only rise. To make it worse, Reliance Jio has announced that it will offer free voice calls forever and has announced free services till December 15Â this year as a welcome offer. Considering that Jio has pan India spectrum, it seems that all telecom operators, big or small, and in all parts of the country will now be feeling the heat. They face a tough choice between dropping rates, or dropping subscribers.