Kolkata: Reliance Jio has increased to 25 seconds the ring duration for outgoing calls from its network.
But Bharti AirtelNSE -0.89 % and Vodafone Idea are not pleased with this fivesecond increase, and are sticking to their demand for a minimum 30-second ring duration.
This comes after Bharti Airtel recently wrote to Trai, warning that it would be forced to cut ring time for outgoing calls from its network to 20 seconds, same as that of Jio’s.
Bharti Airtel had urged Trai to ask the youngest telco to increase its ring duration. Call ring duration is at the heart of the spat between Airtel and Jio.
Airtel has alleged that Jio had reduced its ring duration to manipulate the interconnection usage charge (IUC) regime.
A shorter ring alert, Airtel alleged, meant more missed calls.
This, in turn, led to more return calls to Jio’s network, enabling the latter to reduce its IUC payouts to incumbent telcos, Airtel claimed.
Jio has rejected the allegation, saying 15-20 seconds is a globally followed norm.
The issue was discussed at a Trai meet on September 6,where most telcos — Airtel, Voda Idea, BSNL and MTNL — backed 30 seconds of minimum ring time for answering a call in the interest of consumers and network performance.
Jio, however, wanted it set at 25 seconds. The telco said 20 seconds was sufficient for a called party to respond, and that a longer span wastes spectrum resources.
“There’s no change in our stated position outlined in the minutes of the September 6 Trai meeting as we haven’t received any subsequent communication from either the regulator or Jio on this matter,” a senior executive of an incumbent telco told ET.
Trai has since put out a discussion paper, ‘Duration of alert for the called party’, seeking views on maximum ring time to optimally use network resources.
It has also reportedly asked telcos to arrive at a consensus on the matter before the consultation process concludes.
An outgoing call for the lowest class of 2G users for Airtel and Vodafone Idea costs Rs 1.50 a minute.
To avoid this cost, Jio argues, the subscribers of Airtel and Vodafone Idea and others give missed call alerts to Jio’s users to elicit a return call.
This return call terminates on the incumbents’ networks, generating IUC revenue for them.
Jio says because it offers free unlimited voice services, its network is being bombarded by missed call alerts from incumbent telcos.
Vodafone Idea, Airtel and Jio had not responded to ET’s queries as of press time Thursday.
Currently, Airtel and Vodafone Idea are net IUC revenue gainers, while Jio pays out on a net basis, due to voice traffic flow patterns.
But the voice traffic gap is narrowing as Jio gains subscribers and minute market share at the cost of rivals. Jio is now the largest telco by both these parameters.