|People queue up to get Jio sim|
Amidst escalating corporate war over mobile operation, the powerful Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has blamed India's three topmost telecom companies, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, for undermining healthy competition and promoting monopolistic practices by “denying” people the right to choose between existing cellular services.
Claiming that Reliance Jio, a new entrant in the market, has “shaken up the complacency” which existed among these telecom "cartels", a top RIL functionary known to be close to the Ambani family, has said, the reach for Jio is just an indicator “as to the extent of customer dissatisfaction” with the existing cellular "cartels".
Indeed, huge rush continues in top Indian cities for Jio's 4G enables cellular sim card, offered for free for the initial period till December 31. Long queues, especially of youths, can be seen at all Reliance Digital stores, for instance, in Ahmedabad.
“If you want it without a queue, which begins early at 7.00 am and lasts till late evening, either you buy a 4G mobile at the store, or it is offered for Rs 500 in black”, Ketan Mehta, a senior citizen, wanting to have a Jio sim, told Counterview, finding it impossible to stand in a queue.
In an article titled “Where Jio dares competitors, Telcos cartel connives to block Jio” Parimal Nathwani, Group President of Corporate Affairs, RIL, and member, Rajya Sabha, has quoted American evangelical author on the Christian worldview Nancy Pearcy to say how “monopoly renders people complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.”
“It is a sad commentary that instead of gearing up for competition, they are busy using unfair means to block it”, Nathwani says, adding, “Ever since the launch of Reliance Jio, it has been a series of battles to be allowed call connect with other non-Jio networks or for mobile number portability.”
To launch its 4G debut, Reliance Jio acquired pan India BWA (Broadband Wireless Access) spectrum in 2010, but launched it on September 5 this year.
Admits Nathwani, “Ever since the Jio services began, it has witnessed 75-80 per cent call failures over the last few weeks.” He adds, “In over a period of 10 days alone, 52 crore calls failed cumulatively on the networks of the three incumbent operators Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.”
Calling “blocking of calls” a breach of licence conditions with severely impacting customer interests, Nathwani says it is “unfair to allow them to monopolize the space and deny customers truly world class Internet services that Jio aspires to do”.
He adds, “In blatant disregard to licence terms and their obligations under the Telecommunication Mobile Number Portability Regulations, 2009” the incumbent dominant operators have “rejected all the requests made for porting between September 9 and September 12.”
Saying that “instead of upping their game and being willing to face competitive pricing head on”, the established telecom “cartels” are “choosing every ways and means to block” Jio, Nathwani warns, “We will keep reminding our competitors” to let the customer “decide the service he chooses.”
Amidst the continued corporate war around Jio, the Telecom Regulatory Authoriy of India (TRAI), has “decided” to issue show cause notice to the three operators, even as issuing "directions" to them to "ensure compliance of licensing condition in connection with the Points of Interconnect issue”.
TRAI, significantly, moved only after a complaint from Reliance Jio.