Business

Jio accuses rival telecom operators of illegally masking wireline as mobile numbers

Operations of 3 telcos causing us to pay termination charge, says company.

Reliance Jio has alleged that rival telecom operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL – are passing off calls to fixed line telephones as calls to mobile numbers to “illegally extract” a mobile termination charge of 6 paise per minute, leading to undue enrichment of these operators at the cost of Reliance Jio.

In a letter to the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI) dated October 14, Jio has said the three operators are “fraudulently masquerading wireline numbers as mobile numbers...for undue enrichment by receiving terminating charge as mobile number...”

The company explained that its rivals had implemented a process wherein they offer mobile numbers to enterprises for customer care or helpline numbers such as 888888888 (for Just Dial), 9313931393 (for Oyo Rooms), 9115691156 (for Videocon D2H) and 8888823456 (for HP Gas).

However, as per Reliance Jio, in these cases, mobile number is used just as a virtual number for routing calls to call centre set-ups which operate on a wireline setup with hunting facilities – a feature that allows multiple telephone lines to act as a single group.

“Even when the calling party is dialling the mobile number, all such calls are terminating on fixed lines without ever touching the radio access network of the terminating operator,” it said.

Besides, seeking a levy of “severest penalties” on these operators violations of various regulations, Jio has sought that these telcos be directed to refund the applicable mobile termination charge amount to Reliance Jio as well as other operators with compound interest.

This “fraudulent operation” by other telcos has not only led to Reliance Jio paying a termination charge of six paise per minute but also cost the firm revenues of up to 52 paise per minute for these calls, the operator said in the letter.

It reasoned that such numbers should be provided using either toll-free numbers or universal numbers like 1800 or 1860 series. “As per the Interconnect Agreements signed by Reliance Jio with other operators, for calls on Universal Access and Toll Free numbers originating operator receives in the range of ₹0.36/min to ₹0.52 / min from the terminating operators,” Jio said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 3:42:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/jio-alleges-illegal-extraction/article29714534.ece

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