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Post Vodafone Group CEO statement, Jio mounts a defense

PW Bureau 

Jio said that even before it commenced its services in September 2016, the UK company’s India unit and Bharti Airtel were already ‘killing’ the competition in the country New Delhi: Reliance Jio Infocomm has rejected claims made by Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read recently that only the Mukesh Ambani-run company benefitted from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decisions, calling it “fake news.” Jio said that even before it commenced its services in September 2016, the UK company’s India unit and Bharti Airtel were already “killing” the competition in India.

‘Fake news’

In response to Read’s allegation that except for Jio, the telecom regulator’s decisions have hurt all carriers, Jio president Mathew Oommen said, “The government and the regulator have been very progressive. If someone wants to deliver on fake news, they can deliver on it.” Oommen added that Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel had “destroyed the Indian telecom ecosystem” even before Jio began its services, profiting from high interconnect usage charges (IUC) and denying it sufficient points of interconnection (PoIs). Slamming Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal’s statements on setting up an optic fibre joint venture with Vodafone Idea, Oommen said: “If one company is not able to execute, now two companies coming together may not be able to execute. It is about outcomes and deliverables, and not about coming together.” Oommen noted that Jio has more fibre connectivity than its rivals combined.

Jio backs rivals on 5G spectrum prices

In a rare instance of unity — that too against TRAI — Jio, however, supported its rivals in wanting lower 5G spectrum prices. Oommen said the starting prices for 5G spectrum — expected to be put on auction this year — were “significantly higher” in the country as compared to elsewhere around the world, adding that the prices would hurt the deployment of the next-generation wireless broadband technology.