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Jio brings formal complaint to CCI against India’s Big Three

Indian 4G debutante Reliance Jio has lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) over alleged “abuse of dominance and cartelisation” by the country’s three largest operators.

Jio’s accusation reportedly draws from a letter sent by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) to the Department of Telecom, in which the regulator claims that Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India are denying Jio adequate interconnection. In addition, mobile number portability requests from Jio have reportedly been rejected by the top three operators.

In the letter, TRAI advocates fining Airtel and Vodafone INR10.5 billion ($153 million) each, along with a slightly lower fine of INR9.5 billion for Idea. The regulator states its belief that the lacklustre levels of interconnection are “the ulterior motive to stifle competition” and finds them “anti-consumer”.

Idea CEO Himanshu Kapania stated that he had not received word of the complaint, saying: “No such details have reached us from CCI. Idea will never be involved in any form of cartelisation. The group has the highest standards of compliance. The mobile industry is hyper competitive with eight to nine operators active per circle. Idea is ranked third with just 18-19% market share, so has limited market power.”

Airtel and Vodafone India have made no public comments.

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