Reliance Jio may take COAI to court

Reliance Industries on Monday said it reserved its rights to initiate legal action against the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) for what it termed as breach of trust and misrepresentation of facts by it, notably over test runs of 4G services.

Such an action was conveyed in a letter to the COAI, even as the association, representing most of the existing players, shot its letter to Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, terming Jio’s services a commercial launch.

Jio said it was protesting the COAI’s “gross and serious acts of breach of trust, fraudulent conduct, and gross misrepresentation of facts with wilful and deliberate intent to malign and damage” its interests.

“Reliance Jio reserves all its rights to take any or all available legal recourse against COAI, including anyone who were parties to such acts, in their individual or other capacities,” it said, adding Jio should have been consulted as it was a core member of the COAI as well.

The letter was written to COAI Director General Rajan S. Mathews, copies of which were dispatched to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Communications Minister Manoj Sinha, PM’s Principal Secretary Misra, TRAI Chairman R.S. Sharma and Telecom Commission Chairman J.S. Deepak.

The association, in its letter, said the data generated by Jio is rivalling the combined traffic of the rest of the operators who have been in operation for 15-20 years. It also said while Jio was using commercial spectrum, no revenues were being generated for the government.

“Such bundled sale and purchase (of Jio services) have not been to a few hundred, but to millions of customers across thousands of cities, fetching hundreds of crores of rupees, making them large scale nationwide commercial operations going on for months.”

It said 2.5-3 million users for Reliance Jio constituted a commercial launch.

Jio said such a letter was tantamount to breach of trust and promoted cartelisation. “It flows from that COAI is deliberately and maliciously acting at the behest of and as a mouthpiece for certain specific incumbent dominant operators, having vested interest against Reliance Jio.”

Earlier, while the COAI said its members were complying with licence agreements, Jio strongly refuted the claims and said its own network was not being providing sufficient inter-connection points by the operators for 4G services, and the existing access was grossly inadequate.

The reaction followed a statement by the industry body a day before on behalf of its members, rejecting the request from Reliance Jio for additional points of inter-connect from its member companies on the ground that optimal links have already been provided.

Prior to this, in a letter to the watchdog, Reliance Jio had requested for directives to the existing service providers to immediately provide interconnection to its Jio 4G network with their own, in the spirit of the licensing agreements.

But the members of the COAI, through letters to the government and the watchdog, had alleged that Reliance Jio had already launched a full commercial service in the garb of test runs. IANS