TRAI releases draft of telecom interconnection regulation

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued draft Telecommunication Interconnection (Amendment) Regulations 2018 to amend interconnect regulations, proposing certain changes in terms and conditions for operators to seek fresh call connect ports from other telecom operators.

Key Features of draft rules

Service provider can ask another operator for additional ports or Point of Interconection (POI), in case projected utilisation of  capacity is likely to exceed 85% over 60 day period. The time frame for provisioning of ports for initial interconnection and augmentation is proposed to be increased to maximum 42 working days.

Telecom operator will have to give forecast of outgoing call traffic of busy hours for each interconnect point once every six months (April 1 and October 1) to interconnecting service provider. The first such forecast has to be given within two months from commencement of these amended regulations.

Background

The issue of inter-connectivity had been major flashpoint between Reliance Jio and incumbent telecom operators like Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone at the time when Jio launched its services in 2016. Jio had accused old operators of not providing it sufficient POIs leading to call failures, while operators blamed free calls offered by newcomer for tsunami of network traffic. In 2016, TRAI had also recommended imposing Rs. 1,050 crore penalty each on Airtel and Vodafone and Rs. 950 crore on Idea Cellular for violating quality of service rules.

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