Airtel to provide more point of interconnects to Jio

Airtel network in India
Telecom network operator Bharti Airtel said it will provide additional point of interconnections (PoI) to Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Airtel had extended an invitation to Jio to discuss its requirement of additional PoI.

A statement from Bharti Airtel said: “Airtel has been providing PoIs to Jio, well ahead of the commencement of its commercial operations. With the latest augmentation, the total number of PoIs will become three times the present number of PoIs.”

Airtel said this capacity is sufficient to serve over 15 million customers, which is significantly higher than Jio’s existing customer base.

Airtel said it would also need to take cognizance of the massive asymmetry in the volume of traffic between the two networks and ensure that the quality of service for Airtel customers is not affected.

Idea Cellular

Idea Cellular on Monday said its current allocation of POIs would in normal circumstances cater to 4.65 million such subscribers indicating a buffer of 57 percent in calling capacity. Idea has decided to expand capacity with Jio to over 6.5 million subscribers, with the release of 196 additional POIs, shortly.  This additional capacity will provide for a buffer of 119 percent against the August subscriber volumes.

Idea Cellular said its cost of termination is higher than the current interconnect settlement charge of 14 paisa per minute as prescribed in the present IUC regime. The company is incurring increasing costs due to this high level of traffic asymmetry. Unless controlled, this induced traffic asymmetry is expected to exacerbate the loss in the coming months, said Idea Cellular.

CLSA report on Airtel and Jio

Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel are better placed in the telecom space than many other players given their lead in spectrum, cell sites as well as fibre on network, an analysis by brokerage firm CLSA said here on Tuesday.

“We maintain that Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are better placed given their lead in spectrum, cell sites as well as fibre on network and key will be Reliance Jio subscriber retention starting January 2017,” the analysis by CLSA said.

Though 3G and 4G adoption is driving metro subscriber additions, penetration is still low at 20 per cent, implying further growth potential.

“In the changing competitive landscape, operators with higher 3G/4G capacity are favourably placed,” CLSA said.

“In the coming months, Jio’s offer of free unlimited voice and data on 4G (until December 2016) will likely impact incumbents’ subscriber additions but it is also likely to accelerate mobile data adoption and expand data market further,” the analysis added.

CLSA forecast a 6 per cent compound annual growth rate for mobile subscriber numbers to reach 1.2 billion with 91 per cent overall penetration and 65 per cent rural penetration over FY16-18.