Trai seeks way to end lacunae in interconnect rules

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016,15:38 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Following complaints of denial of interconnection facility, the sector regulator Trai today floated a paper to explore standard rules that can be applied to end arbitrary moves of existing players.

“New TSPs (telecom service providers) have submitted to the Authority that it requires a lot of time to enter into interconnection agreements with the existing TSPs; existing TSPs tend to impose a number of terms and conditions which are non-reciprocal and discriminatory,” Trai said in the paper.

Interconnection ports are crucial for making phone calls.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said that operators have raised multiple issues with regard to interconnection facility ranging from unreasonably high rates asked by existing telecom operators, billing settlement, disconnection etc.

“Through the present Consultation Paper, the Authority is undertaking a review of the existing regulatory framework for interconnection with the ultimate objective of facilitating effective and expeditious interconnection between TSPs in a consultative manner,” the regulator said.

Subscribers of telecommunication services cannot communicate with each other or connect with services they require unless necessary interconnection arrangements are in place.
At present interconnect agreements are decided mutually among telecom operators and the regulator intervenes in case of complaints.

Recently, newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm and dominant players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular were involved in dispute over interconnection.

A new player Ringo has also alleged discrimination by these players including Aircel.
Trai said that it has also been observed that telecom operators, unilaterally, disconnect point of interconnections (PoIs) in certain circumstances resulting in blockage of services to consumers, based on their own interpretation of terms and conditions for non-payment of dues etc.

“Besides, it has come to the notice of the Authority that the existing TSPs tend to impose conditions on the type of traffic which the interconnecting TSPs can send to them,” Ringo has alleged that Airtel,Vodafone, Idea and Aircel have said that they will provide interconnection only if the company does not provide internet telephony service.

Trai has also proposed if a common interconnection exchange can be set-up for effective interconnection facility which will also lead to reduction in number of ports required for it. Last date for comments on the paper is November 21 and counter comments by December 6.