Trai issues interconnectivity rules, fixes 30-day deadline for inking pacts

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday mandated service providers to enter into an interconnection agreement “on non-discriminatory basis” within 30 days of receiving network connectivity request from another operator.
Trai issued the ‘Telecom Interconnection Regulations 2018’ that comprises rules for crafting network connectivity agreements, provisioning of such connectivity among operators at initial stages, augmentation of Points of Interconnect, applicable rates or charges, disconnection of ports, and financial disincentive on interconnection issues.
The rules will come into effect from 1 February. The regulations will apply to all the service providers offering telecom services in India, Trai said in a statement.
“Through these regulations, the authority has mandated that every service provider shall, within thirty days of receipt of request from a service provider, enter into interconnection agreement on non-discriminatory basis, with such service provider,” Trai added.
It has also outlined a framework for provisioning and augmenting of interconnectivity ports, laying down a step-by-step process for provisioning of such ports. The rules issued on Tuesday follows a detailed consultation process by Trai that started in October 2016 and included open house discussions and written comments by stakeholders.
The latest norms assume significance as interconnectivity was the flashpoint between Reliance Jio and incumbent telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, at the time when the newcomer launched its services in 2016.
The new entrant had accused large established operators of not providing it sufficient Points of Interconnect leading to massive call failures on its network, while the incumbents blamed free calls offered by RJio for “tsunami” of network traffic.

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