Reliance Jio Infocomm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, on Wednesday accused Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) as a lobbying group for Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
The move comes after Jio slammed the
telecom industry body for its "threatening and blackmailing" tone in its communication to the government on the non-existent crisis in the sector following the Supreme Court ruling on payment of statutory dues. Read the full text of Reliance Jio's letter to COAI
"It seems there were extraneous consideration to sent this letter, only on behest of the other two members (Airtel and Vodafone Idea). By such unwarranted behaviour COAI has just proved that they are not an industry organisation but just a mouthpiece of two service providers," Jio said in its letter.
COAI in its letter to the government has said that in absence of immediate relief by the centre, two of the three private mobile operators -- Airtel and Vodafone Idea which provide services to 63 percent of the current subscriber base -- will face "unprecedented crisis".
Jio said it disagrees with the "threatening and blackmailing tone" of COAI and accused the Airtel and Vodafone Idea of not investing sufficiently in the sector and "shedding crocodile tears" by claiming financial stress.
It also said Airtel and Vodafone Idea have not shown any inclination to modernise networks, while Jio promoters have made an equity investment of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. "Therefore the failure of these operators cannot be blamed on the Government," Jio argued.
"COAI's intent of using this as an opportunity to seek non-enforcement of the SC judgement and asking for relief is strongly objected by Reliance Jio...These operators have the capacity and enough monetisation possibility to comfortably pay government dues," Jio said.
The top court had last week upheld the government's position on including revenue from non-telecommunication businesses in calculating the annual AGR of telecom companies, a share of which is paid as licence and spectrum fee to the exchequer.
While Bharti Airtel faces a liability of around Rs 42,000 crore after including licence fees and spectrum usage charges, Vodafone Idea may have to pay about Rs 40,000 crore. Jio may have to pay around Rs 14 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)
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