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Warfare Begins in Telecom Sector Again; Jio Hits Back at COAI

Warfare Begins in Telecom Sector Again; Jio Hits Back at COAI

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  31 Oct 2019 12:55 PM GMT

New Delhi: Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash on Wednesday met Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba to discuss the way forward for the Committee of Secretaries set up to consider a relief package for the telecom sector.

The CoS has been set up under the chairmanship of Gauba and the meeting on Wednesday was to discuss the way forward on the telecom muddle.

India’s telecom sector, once a sunrise vertical and the most litigious, is witnessing the comeback of old-style warfare between key operators pitched on either side of the divide.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written a midnight letter to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on the impact of the Supreme Court judgment on the annual gross revenue (AGR) issue. COAI has petitioned that “in the absence of immediate relief from the government, two of the three private mobile operators viz. Airtel and Vodafone Idea, who provide services to around 63 percent of current subscriber base, will face an unprecedented crisis”. The letter written by COAI Director General Rajan Mathews was dispatched at midnight to Prasad and Prakash. Following the dispatch of the letter, Reliance Jio hit back at the COAI.

“We are shocked that you have issued the letter shared last night, when it was clearly communicated to you that we will be providing our detailed comments by the morning of 30th October 2019,” Pramod Kumar Mittal of Reliance Jio wrote to Mathews. In a strongly-worded letter, Reliance Jio said: “This is a serious breach of trust on your part, that can only exacerbate the continuous relations between Reliance Jio Infocomm and COAI, all due to such actions by COAI, in the past.”

Reliance Jio alleged that the COAI sent the letter to the Telecom Minister at the behest of two members. Although it did not take names, it is implied that the two names would be Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. (IANS)

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