Nearly after two months of consultation on interconnectivity rules of telecom operators, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is ready to prescribe amendments to the existing terms and conditions for an operator to seek fresh call connect ports from other telcos. The consultation from the industry was open till May 18 for these draft regulations. The matter had come into Trai’s scrutiny after complaints from Reliance Jio were received citing unavailability of ports for call connection on other telcos’ parts.
As per the new Telecommunication Interconnection (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, Trai now allows a service provider to ask another operator for additional ports in case the projected utilisation of the capacity at the interconnect point is likely to exceed 85 per cent over a 60-day period. Trai has also added that it will be mandatory for every operator to give a forecast of outgoing call traffic of busy hours for each interconnect point once every six months — April 1 and October 1 each year to the interconnecting service provider.
Trai’s official statement read “The time-frame for provisioning of ports for initial interconnection and augmentation of ports at POls (points of interconnect) is increased to 42 working days.. the first such forecast shall be provided within sixty days of the commencement of the Telecommunication Interconnection (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 and thereafter on the 1st April and 1st October every year” reports PTI.
It is noteworthy that the matter of interconnectivity congestion caught the spark when Reliance Jio alleged that the other telecom operators like Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular were not providing Jio with enough ports for connectivity leading to failure in call connections. The telcos, on the other hand, lashed back saying that Jio’s free calling had triggered the sudden spike in interconnected calls from the operator.
Following the allegation, Trai then slapped Bharti Airtel and Vodafone each with a penalty of Rs 1,050 crore and Idea Cellular with a penalty of Rs 950 crore on the grounds of violation of Quality of Service norms. Trai said that given the high rate of call failures and congestion at interconnect points for Reliance Jio and the sheer amount of violation of QoS norms the penalty was befitting for the operators. Trai also found some inconsistencies with the compliance of these telecom operators with the license conditions.