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Airtel Eyeing Aggressive 4G Packs To Take On Jio

Bharti Airtel (Bharti Airtel share price trading at Rs. 320.20)


has plans to approach the regulators to sort all the doubts over
providing interconnection points (PoIs) to Mukesh Ambaniowned company- Jio. Gopal Vittal, the managing director,
India & South Asia, at Bharti Airtel claims to have provided
more PoIs to Jio than any other carriers.
Hopefully, Jios full-fledged price launch will happen
sometime in December and Airtel too will come up with
aggressive 4G bundled packs and will implement them shortly. It is indeed strenuous to
compete with a free services offer hence Airtel has come up with such a step.
Vittal agreed to the fact that Jios free services offer had put an element of softness in
Airtels data revenue growth. He anticipated the new 4G rival to grab 40 million customers
by the end of December. Bharti Airtels data realization slipped 10 per cent sequentially in
the September quarter. Y-o-Y data revenue growth of nearly 24 per cent in the quarter was
its slowest so far.
The telecom operator reported a close 5 per cent on-year fall in net profit in the September
quarter. Vittal further added that there was confusion at the TRAIs end regarding the
issue of providing PoIs to Jio Infocomm. Airtels PoI augmentation for Jio has been
nothing short of staggering since the number of E1s (interconnect points) given to the
company within just five weeks is 2.5 times the levels offered to any other operator in
India.
Airtel would shortly go back to TRAI and telecom department to clarify any confusion on
the PoI issue, and the company is confident that they will take an objective view on the
matter. Some the confusion on the PoI issue, occurred from whether incumbent carriers
were legally obliged to supply interconnect points to Jio from July itself when there was
no
clarity
on
the
timing
of
the
latters
commercial
launch.

Last week TRAI had imposed a combined penalty amounting to Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti
Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, charging them flouting licence norms in denying
adequate interconnection points to Jio. Previously, Airtels Mittal had said the industry
also needed to settle the issue of Jios free tariffs citing nothing can be free for a lifetime.
India's three largest telcos namely Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have
sought clarifications from the regulator on whether Jio's free voice and data offer from
September 5 till the end of the year goes against norms that set a 90-day limit for
promotional plans.
However, TRAI recently gave Jio a clean chit and said its tariff plans which include free
voice
for
life
is
permissible
and
compliant
with
rules.

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Article Written by
Madhurima Chowdhury