Reliance Jio Dismisses Airtel, Vodafone Allegations Over TRAI’s Network Testing

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have questioned regulator TRAI’s timing of recent paper on refining mobile network test rules, calling it a ‘disguise’ after the damage was done by Reliance Jio.

The Mukesh Ambani-led Jio has dismissed the charges saying the incumbents have created a non-issue around network testing, despite clarity in present rules and it is necessary to clear all ambiguities in the existing framework.

The incumbent telecom operators, under the umbrella of industry body COAI in August 2016, alleged that Reliance Jio is bypassing regulations by offering full-fledged services under the guise of test connections and requested the Department of Telecom to ask Reliance Jio to immediately stop all connections provided to 1.5 million users.

At the time, Jio was providing free unlimited 4G data services and voice calls in the test phase. The company launched its commercial service on September 5, 2016.

Reliance Jio had refuted charges as “malicious, unfounded, ill-informed, and frivolous and are contrary to actual facts”.

Reliance Jio Dismisses Airtel, Vodafone Allegations Over TRAI's Network TestingThe tussle between incumbents and Reliance Jio led to exchange of communications between the DoT and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The regulator issued a consultation paper on May 1 this year to refine rules on network testing.

Airtel, in its submission to the TRAI, said that there are no grey areas or ambiguities in the existing guidelines and the paper is no more relevant as damage has already been done.

It said that the present rules clearly state that the enrolment of subscribers is not permitted before the commercial launch of services and the regulator has “failed to act on a suo motu basis over the violation of these rules”.

“However, these guidelines have been blatantly violated by the new entrant. Therefore, we are surprised that instead of taking an action against the new entrant, TRAI has issued a consultation paper over the issue,” Airtel said.

It added that the delay in action from Trai allowed the new entrant to amass subscribers in the guise of test users and offer all its services for free.

Vodafone alleged that the TRAI, instead of examining the compliance of licensing terms and conditions by Reliance Jio, has condoned the actions of Reliance Jio in the consultation by citing lack of clarity and converted the consultation into future discussion.

“…the present consultation appears to be disguising these violations by claiming lack of clarity in the license regarding time period for testing, limiting number of SIMs and enrolment of subscribers during the test phase,” Vodafone said.

Idea Cellular said the the consultation on network testing has only been issued almost after nine months of having received the formal reference from DoT which “clearly demonstrates the lackadaisical approach of the TRAI towards dealing with such a critical issue” that has resulted in a plethora of problems for the entire telecom industry.

Idea said that the conduct of the TRAI on this specific issue raises serious questions on the Authority’s approach towards this issue with regard to the guiding principles of fairness and transparency.

Reliance Jio Seeks CCI Nod for RCom Spectrum Sharing

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm has sought CCI approval for the proposed spectrum sharing deal with younger sibling’s Reliance Communications.

The company is awaiting approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for agreements entered into with Reliance Communications (RCom) and its subsidiary Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL). These pacts are for using 800MHz spectrum.

Reliance Jio is the latest entrant in the highly competitive domestic telecom market and launched its services in September last year. The company had entered into a pact with RCom for acquisition of right to use certain spectrum in the 800MHz band.

Reliance Jio Seeks CCI Nod for RCom Spectrum SharingBesides, it had inked agreements with RCom as well as RTL providing with the option related to use of spectrum in the 800MHz band. All the three agreements were entered into between the parties concerned in January 2016.

The agreements were “pursuant to the guidelines for trading of access spectrum by access service providers” issued by the Department of Telecommunications on October 12, 2015, as per the notice submitted to the CCI.

According to the notice, Reliance Jio was testing its network for providing mobile telephone services, high definition voice, video, data and messaging, in India as on the date of entering into the agreements.

As per CCI website, the deal is under review.

Airtel VoLTE Launch Appears Imminent With Support Added to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

Last year, Reliance Jio made a groundbreaking entry in the Indian telecom industry with its rock-bottom tariff prices and began offering Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calling technology in the country. While some of Jio’s rival telcos are still busy launching new data offers, Airtel seems to be taking a step further with the rollout of its VoLTE services. An indication of its imminent launch was spotted in the changelog of the latest software update on Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which adds Airtel VoLTE support.

We’ve reached out to Airtel for a comment on its 4G VoLTE rollout plans, as well as Xiaomi with regards to the feature addition. An Airtel spokesperson responded by saying, “We are piloting/testing VoLTE in a few places but there are no launch timelines that we can share at this point.”

Airtel VoLTE Launch Appears Imminent With Support Added to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4The Airtel VoLTE support was spotted on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 of a Gadgets 360 team member, added with the MIUI v8.2.10.0.MCFMIDL software update. The changelog says “New – Airtel VoLTE support (06-14)”, as seen in the screenshot. Other changes brought by the update include May Android security update, and fixes for connectivity, SD card, and notification issues.

Reliance Jio’s entry into the Indian telecom market has shaken up the entire industry, with free calling on VoLTE networks one of its primary USPs. Rival telcos have found it hard to compete with this, as well as the increased value for money on data plans. Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, and other telcos have been rolling out new plans every week in an attempt to keep customers, and the offering of VoLTE calling is a natural progression to compete on the first front.

Reliance Jio Has 23 Percent Market Share, Second Only to Airtel: Truecaller Report

There is hardly any doubt that Reliance Jio has impacted Indian telecom industry in a substantial manner since its launch last year but latest data (July-December) from Truecaller communication app has revealed some interesting facts about the service offered by the Reliance Industries-owned telecom company. As per Truecaller’s TrueInsights 2016 Special report, Reliance Jio has managed to capture 23 percent of the Indian telecom market. Note that this is a measure of the number of users that have Truecaller installed, and thus it doesn’t necessarily represent the overall telecom market of India.

 

reliance jio users truecaller story Reliance Jio Users

 

As per other data shared in the Truecaller report, the median call duration registered by Reliance Jio users (less than 30 seconds) is the shortest among users of all major telecom players in the Indian market. Interestingly, Reliance Jio users are also making the most calls per user out of any of the operators, as pointed out in TrueInsights 2016 Special report. The data seemingly suggests that the Reliance Jio users might be facing call-drop issues with the telecom operator. “If overlaid with the average call duration, it does seem like the data points to some unintended usage patterns, such as Jio sims primarily being used for data or an increased amount of dropped calls and hence redials on the Jio network,” Truecaller said in its report.

 

reliance jio call duration median truecaller story Reliance Jio Median Call Duration

 

However, things seem brighter for Reliance Jio when we consider Internet data consumption. Citing another industry report, Truecaller said that Reliance Jio users have average data consumption three times higher than other telecom operators. This statistic is of course helped by the free data offered by the company as part of the Reliance Jio Welcome and Reliance Jio Happy New Year offers.

“42 percent of all Indians having 4G handsets are using Jio as the primary source for data connection. Only 17.54 percent of 4G users are using Airtel as primary data connection source, while Vodafone has a market share of at 12.26 percent and Idea has 11.50 percent share,” Truecaller said citing the same industry report.

 

reliance jio average calls user truecaller story Reliance Jio Average Calls Per User

 

As per the TrueInsights report, Vodafone and Idea enjoy the leading share in Delhi and Maharashtra respectively while Reliance Jio and Airtel have even share of usage across all regions. Vodafone users reported the longest median call duration while in terms of regions Kolkata users lead the category and Jammu and Kashmir fared worst, as per the data.

As you would expected, the information graphs provided by TrueInsights suggest that the median call duration, number of users, and the number of calls placed by each user, all increased considerably for Reliance Jio in last three months of 2016.

“Mobile Internet usage is expected to grow to over 500 million customers by the end of 2017 with a large portion of those picking Jio. As a result there’s already consolidation discussions among operators in India due to the increased competitive pressures,” Truecaller said in its report.

It will be interesting to see how these numbers for Reliance Jio will change (for better or worse) after the company’s promotion offers end and the standard pricing will be put into place.

A recent report by Truecaller for Q4 2016 revealed that Reliance Jio has become the second largest telecom player in India in terms of users, capturing more than 23 percent of the Indian market.

Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer Kicks In; High-Speed Data Cap Set at 1GB Per Day

After the expiration of company’s Welcome Offer on December 31 last month, Reliance Jio’s Happy New Year Offer has come into effect from Sunday and set the per day data cap (high-speed) for all service users at 1GB. As part of the promotional offer, users will be able to make unlimited phone calls and enjoy 1GB of free high-speed data per day till March 31.

Reliance Jio Happy New Year Offer Kicks In; High-Speed Data Cap Set at 1GB Per DayTo recall, Reliance Jio was offering 4GB of high-speed Internet data and unlimited voice calls per day as part of its Jio Welcome Offer that ended last month. On December 1, the company’s Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced that the company was extending its free services till March 31 through its Jio Happy New Year Offer, which was applicable to all the SIM cards acquired from December 4.

Those users who were previously availing the Welcome Offer are eligible to continue using the free services under the Jio Happy New Year Offer till March 31, but with the daily cap of high-speed 4G data reduced to 1GB after December 31. Users will also be able to recharge to avail high-speed data once they hit their daily limit.
As per an analyst report from last month, the user base for Reliance Jio is expected to reach 100 million by the end of March this year. However, the report clarified that this user base is expected to shrink after the company starts charging users for its services. The prices for prepaid plans available after March 31 have already been detailed by the company, as have the postpaid plans.

Reliance Jio Still Sharing Your Call Information With Foreign Countries, Warns Anonymous India

Reliance Jio Still Sharing Your Call Information With Foreign Countries, Warns Anonymous India
Anonymous claims Jio apps are leaking call data to foreign companies
The group has identified My Jio and Jio Dialer apps as the culprits
Reliance denies these allegations put forth by Anonymous
There’s no stopping the juggernaut that is Reliance Jio from making headlines. However, the circumstances are a bit different today. Hackers from the infamous hacking group Anonymous have claimed that Reliance Jio apps are leaking user call data to foreign countries.

Anonymous India (@redteamin ) claims that Reliance Jio is sending this data to companies in the US and Singapore and has also listed a step-by-step guide for anyone to verify this themselves.

While we haven’t been able to verify this ourselves, the group has informed certain media outlets that the My Jio and Jio Dialer apps are the ones sending this information to an ad network called Mad-Me. The group further elaborates that the data being sent across to these overseas companies is encrypted, which means there’s lesser chance of someone intercepting these packets.

The hacker group has also posted a screenshot that allegedly proves the data is being set overseas. “From the above it is clear that Jio app is using third party SDK and not verifying what data the SDK is collecting and where it is sending. This violates the [sic] user privacy,” claims Anonymous.
In response to this allegation, Jio Infocomm (RJIL) told Gadgets 360 in an emailed statement, “Jio takes its customers security and privacy very seriously. In keeping with its highest standards of governance, Jio does not share its customers’ data with any other entity. Any information captured by Jio is only for internal analysis to deliver better quality of service and recommend offerings from Jio’s product portfolio.”

Little more than a year ago, Anonymous called out RJIL for sending unencrypted data from the Jio Chat app to servers located in China. This charge was immediately denied by the company, terming it “unfounded and malicious allegations against the Jio Chat App.”

RJIL further elaborated, saying, “This is a common practice for any app wishing to provide location-based services within China. However, when used Globally, Jio Chat (outside of China) always uses Google Maps.”