Jio accuses Airtel of misleading Indian regulator over $10m

Reliance Jio claims that Bharti Airtel misrepresented facts submitted to TRAI, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, saying that it has suffered loss in profits due to call connection charges.

According to Gadgets 360, Jio has said that Airtel is attempting to hide its profits from the regulator and its claims that it lost nearly 680 million rupees ($10.6 million) over the last five years in call connection charges are “grossly incorrect and fallacious".

The costs in question are placed by the operators that levy an interconnect usage charge on subscribers when receiving incoming calls from other networks. 

RS Sharm, chairman of Reliance Jio, said in a letter to TRAI: "We submit that all the contentions of Airtel are fallacious, not based on true facts, and are misleading in nature. We request that the authority may take appropriate action against Airtel for such mischievous and frivolous submissions.

Approximately 14 paise (0.2 US cents) are added to the cost of calls made to mobile phones under the interconnect usage charge. Many of the large incumbents have said that this figure should be between 30-40 paise, but the smaller independent operators think this figure should come down to zero. 

In Jio’s letter it said that Airtel reached its figure by calculating mobile call connection charges as 30 paise a minute, a method that has never been confirmed or accepted by TRAI.

With the company adding: "It is obvious that this misrepresentation of facts and wrong interpretation of data has been carried out purposefully to create a smoke-screen to hide its ill-gotten profits and to support its false pretence of loss under the existing IUC regime. Airtel has purposefully endeavoured to confuse the issue by adjusting this excess recovery against its IUC pay-out of around [2,475 million rupees ($38.6 million)], which Airtel has already recovered as part of tariff from its subscribers... (and) cannot be again adjusted against total IUC receipt made by Airtel. Clearly, this subterfuge is created to reduce the impact of true excess recovery.”

In response Airtel said that Jio included calls made within its own network in its calculations and “Therefore Jio's calculation are blatantly misleading with false calculation to inflate the numbers. Which operator pays IUC charge on the on-net calls."