Reliance Jio released call drop rate due to interconnect capacity with incumbent operators. Congestion issues are preventing calls to the incumbent operators Vodafone, Idea and Airtel. Here is the position of Trai on the issue.
This is not a call drop issue, it is a call failure issue
A call drop is when an existing telephonic connection is cut off abruptly. The problem here is when a user on the network of operator A calls another user on the network of operator B, the call never gets connected in the first place. This is call failure, and not call drop. The government is willing to take steps to ensure that the norms for call failure rates are not violated, after assessing the data. The building of points of capacity between operators, and call failures resulting from that, should not be confused with Trai’s continuous monitoring of call drop rates to ensure that service providers are maintaining a mandated quality of service. There is a parallel call drop problem that is being tracked and resolved, that has little to do with the current fights between operators over points of interconnect.
The priority for Trai is the consumer, not the operator
Telecom operators may be scrambling about coming up with various numbers. These can be call drop rates, or the increase in capacity by incumbent operators in points of interconnect with new operators, or complaints over the volume of traffic being asymmetric between networks. Whatever said and done, the bigger issue is that the end user should be able to dial a number and connect. If this is not happening, then that is failure of service on part of the provider. Trai chairman RS Sharma has said the call failure rate is unacceptable, compared to the regulated norm of equal to or less than 0.5 per cent.
The telecom operators will be asked for an explanation
As the data points to an unacceptable number of call failures, Trai will ask the operators individually for an explanation. This is part of the process to ensure that the operators are not violating any customer service norms. The numbers and figures of the points of interconnect that have been announced by the companies, and circulated in the media are of no concern to Trai. Trai will not evaluate the operators on the number of points of interconnect, but only on the outcome of the setup. Trai will issue show-cause notices to the operators that are exceeding the norm by a significant amount.
Trai has a hands-off approach to the situation
Trai will not try to broker a peace between the warring operators. The job of the authority is to regulate, and it will only monitor the operators for violations of service. Any means and methods to stop the escalating fight, is left to the operators themselves. Trai will just ensure that an appropriate regulatory framework is in place, and take the steps to hold operators accountable to that framework. Trai will not directly intervene in the scuffle, but will take measures to make sure that the regulatory framework is healthy. This includes floating the consultation paper to decide the points of interconnect charges.
Points of interconnect pricing will undergo a consultation
The regulator does not interfere with the pricing of the individual plans as these are decided by the operators themselves. The regulator will issue a consultation paper on the pricing of the points of interconnect. The process is long drawn out, and expected to take 6 months or longer. This is because all points of view are considered, along with suggestions from stakeholders, and every possible course of action evaluated. Fast tracking this established process would only result in ineffective action, and not produce the expected results. The consultation paper will decide if the point of interconnect pricing should be zero or not, and if not, the exact amount will be decided.