Reliance Jio lambasts COAI over letter seeking govt relief
Taking the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) head on for writing to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, late on Tuesday evening, urging his urgent intervention to avert a crisis in the telecom sector, Reliance Jio on Wednesday wrote a scathing letter to the director-general of the industry body. Lambasting the DG, Rajan Mathews, for the undue haste in issuing the letter without waiting for its view, Jio also said that the move was a serious breach of trust on COAI’s part.
On October 29, COAI had written to the government stating that in regard to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea will face an unprecedented crisis in the absence of an immediate grant of relief by the government.
COAI had indicated that the worst outcome would result in India ending up with a possible monopoly in the telecom sector, which will have its own adverse consequences.
The consequences could compromise the ‘Digital India’ vision of the government as also the ‘Make-in-India’ programme for digital products.
RJio stated that the submission of the letter by the COAI by merely mentioning that one of its members has a divergent view, without waiting for the view, is a manifestation of COAI’s prejudiced mindset completely laced with one-sided thought process. “By such unwarranted behaviour COAI has just proved that they are not an industry organisation, but just a mouthpiece of two service providers,” RJio stated.
Jio has also objected to the tone of the COAI’s letter saying it disagrees with the “threatening and blackmailing tone” of the association.
RJio stated that the failure of two operators, even in the unlikely event of it actually happening, will not have an impact on the sector dynamics with existence of vibrant competition, including presence of PSUs, and there is no restriction on entry by new operators.
“There will be no impact on digitisation and government programmes, as these operators anyway were not investing sufficiently in the sector and have been shedding crocodile tears by claiming a financial stress for a long time now and they have not shown any inclination to modernise the networks,” RJio’s letter stated.
RJio has also pointed out that certain contents of the COAI’s letter imply that the Supreme Court judges did not consider their contentions by not concurring with the TDSAT judgment. “In our opinion, such observations and arguements are not only factually incorrect, unwarranted but amount to contempt of the court as well,” RJio said.
The telecom operator has also asked COAI to share its divergent view with the government with a follow-up letter.