Idea Cellular looks to courts to block Trai penalty over Jio interconnection

26 January 2017 | James Pearce


Idea Cellular has launched legal action against the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendation to impose a penalty of 9.5 billion rupees ($137 million) for not providing interconnection to Reliance Jio.

Trai accused Idea of refusing to offer sufficient interconnection with Jio, the challenger mobile operator that has caused a price war in India since it was launched in September.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has labelled Idea’s court motion as premature, telling the court that the petition was not maintainable because Trai has only given a recommendation, according to the Economic Times.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the order, made in October 21, would only be appealable once DoT takes a decision, according to the reports.

Idea denies Trai’s finding, saying it has complied with and met the requirements for 19,175 points of interconnection with Jio  by 19 January this year, blaming failed calls on Jio.

The issue of interconnection with Jio has been a controversial one for the Indian regulator. Trai has also recommended the DoT fine Vodafone for failing to provide interconnections, something Vodafone also challenged.

The regulator claims Idea, Vodafone and Airtel - who has revealed its lowest profits for four years due to pressure from Jio – are denying interconnection with “the ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer".