Jio test uses commercial airwaves, but no revenue to govt: COAI

Upping the ante in its fight with Reliance Jio, cellular operators' body today alleged that free data and voice being offered by the new operator under beta test is generating huge traffic using spectrum allocated for commercial use, but not yielding revenue share for government.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 22, 2016, 18:26 PM IST
Jio test uses commercial airwaves, but no revenue to govt: COAI

New Delhi: Upping the ante in its fight with Reliance Jio, cellular operators' body today alleged that free data and voice being offered by the new operator under beta test is generating huge traffic using spectrum allocated for commercial use, but not yielding revenue share for government.

In yet another letter to the PMO on Monday, the existing operators under the aegis of COAI said the data traffic generated by such "so called beta tests" is rivaling the combined traffic of the rest of the operators who have been in operation for 15-20 years.

"The data traffic generated by such so called beta tests, which as per field understanding, is rivaling the combined traffic of the rest of the operators who have been in operation for 15-20 years, is using spectrum allocated for commercial use on a revenue share principle (designed to provide revenue to the government), yet statedly yielding no revenue and consequently no share to the government," COAI said.

The cellular body further alleged that about 2.5-3 million active users, both individuals and enterprise, urban and rural are using purportedly free data and voice from a single operator who has dubbed it "pre-launch beta test".

Asking the authorities to deal with the issue of "unauthorised commercial services described as tests", COAI said, still if the operator subsidises pseudo free minutes to millions of tests users on their own network, that is between them and the authorities.

But "it should not be expected that other operators will further cross-subsidise this pseudo traffic through demands for unreasonable network resources on their networks," it said.

The incumbent cellular operators claimed that the current situation has created compliance issues such as launch of commercial operations without filing tariff plans with the regulator, as well as attribution of the entire bundle sale value to the handset value and therefore evasion of payment of adjusted gross revenue share and other levies.

COAI also charged the new operator of evasion of compliances required of commercial operations, and "luring unsuspecting customers to purchase a bundle with uncertain benefits."

COAI and RJio have locked horns over interconnect issues, with the cellular body dubbing the latter's testing of network as an effort to bypass regulations and the Mukesh Ambani firm hitting back saying the charge is a bid to block its full rollout.

Reliance Jio has also called for action against dominant players, including Airtel, for denying it inter-connection in a "breach" of the licence agreement.