Supreme Court settles turf war between TRAI and CCI

By Karthik Somasundram and Sneha Jaisingh, Bharucha & Partners

Reliance Jio has, without doubt, caused a revolution in the telecommunications industry, but it also created a conflict between two regulators – the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The conflict was settled by the Supreme Court in the Competition Commission of India v Bharti Airtel Limited & Ors (2018) case.

In July 2016, Jio raised demands for points of interconnection (PoIs) from existing telecom service providers, also known as incumbent dominant operators (IDOs). PoIs are regulated in terms of interconnection agreements as prescribed by TRAI.

Karthik Somasundram
Bharucha & Partners

Although the IDOs provided PoIs to Jio, the latter complained that they were inadequate as it resulted in call failures for Jio subscribers. According to Jio, the IDOs were indulging in anti-competitive behaviour by not providing sufficient PoIs. The IDOs, on the other hand, claimed that Jio’s demand for PoIs was not compliant with the interconnection agreements, and that call drops and failures were caused by Jio’s offer of free calls to its subscribers. They further claimed that they had provided more PoIs than required and that call failures were also a result of technical incompatibilities in Jio’s VoLTE network.

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Karthik Somasundram is a partner and Sneha Jaisingh is a managing associate at Bharucha & Partners.


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