“While the operators continue to play the blame-game, it’s the end consumers who’re getting affected”
If you’ve been following the world of technology in India for the past few weeks, then you’d notice that Reliance Jio always manages to be in the news for some reason or the other ever since its launch on September 1st. While the initial coverage around it was positive, thanks to its bold marketing tactics, of late, it has taken a 180-degree turn thanks to significant call drops and reports saying that it’s allegedly sharing user data with overseas ad networks.
Reliance Jio has constantly put the blame on rival telcos by saying that they haven’t provided enough points of interconnection for calls to get through. It had mentioned that it’s noticing over 10 crore call drops every day with leading operators – Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea. However, it seems its statements have been falling on deaf ears, and hence taking it to the next level, it has reportedly started displaying operator-wise call drops data on its website. The company said it’s doing “so in the spirit of putting the customer-first and complete transparency”.
The data will be updated on a periodic basis. As per the website, on September 22nd, it suffered over 12 crore call drops out of 15 crore calls. Out of 6.13 crore calls made to Airtel’s network, 4.8 crore calls failed. Vodafone fared even poorer as 3.95 crore calls were dropped out of 4.69 crore total calls. For Idea, there were 3.36 crore call failures out of 4.39 crore calls. During the peak traffic hours, the call drops were even higher for each of the networks.
While Reliance Jio isn’t holding back as it’s putting the blame on incumbents, Airtel is also replying aggressively. It has earlier mentioned that by raising the issue of call drops, Reliance is trying to hide technical faults in its own network. Now, in a letter sent to Jio, it stated “While RJIO has continued to allege huge call failure on account of insufficient number of PoIs (points of interconnect), however, we believe that the prime reason for such call failures was on account of acquisition of a large number of subscribers by RJIO even before the declaration of the commercial launch”.
The letter suggests that while Airtel has implemented the interconnection points, Reliance Jio hasn’t tested them yet. Airtel highlighted “it is important to note, that despite our best efforts, the POIs are still in the process of augmentation due to issues at your end.” Adding further, “even these capacities could be augmented with great persuasion by Airtel teams. During the augmentation exercise, your circles had cited issues with regard to Acceptance Testing, transmission media related concerns and hence the augmentation process took much longer and even till date the complete POI’s have not been augmented due to the unpreparedness of your teams.”
Along with putting the blame squarely on Reliance Jio, Airtel has also brought up the issue of asymmetric traffic again. “Currently, 89 per cent of traffic originating from RJIO network is being terminated into Airtel network and is thereby creating asymmetry in traffic. This is a serious concern for us due to the below-cost termination charge regime, every extra minute terminated by RJIO in our network, is causing a huge financial loss to Airtel,” it said.
Reliance Jio has again replied by saying that its users are facing more than 1.6 crore call failures while calling to Airtel network, along with denying that “there has been any delay at its end in operationalising the E1s.”
While the operators continue to play the blame-game, it’s the end consumers who’re getting affected. As the regulatory authority, TRAI has already decided to step in, though it remains to be seen how soon these issues will be addressed.