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Only Jio gained from TRAI regulations, says Vodafone Group CEO

PW Bureau 

Vodafone’s top executive seemed to be referring to contentious regulations issued by the telecom regulator in the past two years Barcelona: In the past two years, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decisions have only benefitted Reliance Jio Infocomm and in turn slowed down all other operators, Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said, calling for a “level playing field” for regulations. With its JioPhone offers, the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio has cashed in on the telco consolidation and 4G feature phone market. “I think it’s fair to say that for the last two years, we’ve had many regulatory outcomes that have worked against everyone in the market, except Jio, and we only ask for a level playing field in terms of regulation,” Read said, on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress on Monday. However, the TRAI and Jio rejected these allegations.

TRAI regulations

TRAI has made a number of regulations in recent years including a 57 percent drop in interconnect usage charge (IUC) to 6 paise a minute, while bring down costs for Jio. Vodafone has also challenged TRAI’s suggestion to slap penalties of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for allegedly denying adequate points of interconnect (PoIs) to Jio. The pricing in the country’s telecom sector remained “artificially low” and won’t be sustainable, Read said, adding that Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Jio would need to discuss the matter. “The pricing environment is artificial as all three operators are haemorrhaging cash, and therefore at some point, pricing needs to return to a more normalised level,” he said.