It seems like the war of words between the Reliance Jio and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) will go on for a while. In an interview with the Economic Times, Reliance Chairman, Mukesh Ambani criticised the functioning of the association, especially its democratic nature. Now, Business Standard reports that COAI’s Director-General, Rajan S Mathews has responded to the comments. “The comments made with reference to the functioning of COAI are absolutely incorrect and misleading. COAI is a fully democratic association and takes into account the views of all its member operators. On all policy matters, the views of COAI are fully endorsed by all or majority of its member operators,” Mathews said.
The contentious issue seems to the the interconnect user charge (IUC), under which an operator has to pay other operators 14 paise per minute for voice calls terminating on their network. Mathews said that the views expressed by the association are “of all members” and only Reliance Jio is the only member opposing it. Since Jio is a new operator, most of its calls should terminate on the networks of other telcos, so it will have to to pay other operators more. Further, since Jio has made voice calling free, it would stand to benefit the most it the IUC is removed.