Airtel Lays the Blame on Reliance Jio’s Free Calls For Its Losses
Both Airtel and Reliance Jio have been fighting over call connection charges.
Bharti Airtel on Thursday rejected Reliance Jio's claim that incumbents were hugely benefited from call connection charges and said it suffered losses to the tune of Rs 550 crore every quarter due to 'tsunami of calls' that originated from the network of the new entrant.
The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led firm said Jio's demand to end mobile termination charges (MTC) is a "sinister design" to "continue with its strategy of predatory pricing and ultimately throttle all competition.
The allegations made by Reliance Jio regarding Airtel earning excess revenue from MTC are not only false but laughable,Airtel Statement
It said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) mandated MTC of 14 paise, which is less than the cost of producing a call minute, "which is currently at 35 paise".
"...the tsunami of calls originating from Reliance Jio's network, Airtel loses 21 paise for every minute that is carried on its network. This has resulted in a loss of Rs 550 crore per quarter for Airtel alone," the company said.
Jio in its presentation before TRAI has said that ‘number one’ operator, hinting at Airtel, has made an excess of Rs 73,000 crore from interconnection usage charges (IUC).
Telecom operators levy IUC on incoming calls from the network of the other operators. These charges are passed on to subscribers by respective service providers.
A Jio representative at an open house discussion held by TRAI on Thursday reiterated that telecom operators have benefited to the tune of over Rs 1 lakh crore after the sector regulator allowed continuation of IUC for mobile calls.
Airtel said by proposing a transition to the 'Bill and Keep' regime with zero MTC, Reliance Jio wants to simply transfer its cost to Airtel and other operators.
As per current estimates, this cost would be to the tune of Rs 15,000–20,000 crore per year for the industry and will only increase going forward, it added.
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