When a new telecom operator starts its service and request interconnection points, other telcos must give POIs within 30 days, says Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its new guideline.
The telecom regulator now mandates that every service provider shall, within thirty days of receipt of a request from a service provider, enter into an interconnection agreement, on a non-discriminatory basis, with such service provider. TRAI has also laid down a framework for provisioning and augmentation of ports at POIs, which offers a step-by-step process in this regard.
What makes it more appealing is the penalty for telcos, who violates the rule. If in any case, an operator tries to violate the interconnect rules, TRAI will impose a penalty of one lakh rupees per day per licensed service area.
The Telecommunication Interconnection Regulations, 2018
- It comprises of regulations on important aspects of the interconnection agreement, provisioning of initial interconnection and augmentation of Points of Interconnections (PoI), interconnection charges, disconnection of PoIs and financial disincentive on interconnection matters.
- Telecom operators need to allocate interconnection points or POIs within 30 days of receipt of a request from another service provider.
- Within five days service providers need to respond to interconnection seekers with a draft interconnect pact.
- TRAI can stipulate a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh per day per licensed service area on telecom operators who violate the rule.
- Any set-up charges and infrastructure charges for POIs may be mutually negotiated between telcos subject to the regulations or directions issued by the Authority.
- For disconnection of the POIs, a service provider now have to give a show-cause-notice of 15 working days to the other telco mentioning the ‘reasons’ for the proposed disconnection. If the telco is not satisfied by the reply or in case no reply is received, it can give another notice of 15 days specifying the disconnection date for POIs.
This guideline is significant considering the year-long issue between Reliance Jio and incumbent operators. At the time of launch of its service in September 2016, Jio users faced massive call drop issue. The telco accused incumbent telecom operators especially Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for not providing enough Points of Interconnect (PoIs). This lead to massive call failure on Jio’s network when one tries place calls from Jio to any other network. However, incumbent telcos blamed the call drop due to the Jio’s free voice call offer that was causing massive network conjunction.
The Telecommunication Interconnection Regulations, 2018 from TRAI will come into effect 1st February 2018. These regulations will apply to all service providers offering telecom services in India.