Cellular operators under COAI have approached telecom regulator TRAI against state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL’s) new limited fixed mobile telephony services.
BSNL’s limited fixed mobile telephony service is an app-based calling service that virtually turns mobiles into cordless phone working in sync with landlines to make and receive calls within home premises.
COAI has asked TRAI to intervene and direct BSNL to withdraw the new service saying that the service although being marketed as “distinct” is “in-principle same version of their Fixed Mobile Telephony (FMT) services” which was launched last year and subsequently withdrawn.
The operators – all except Reliance Jio, which COAI said has divergent views – have further said that the new service is disguised as a Public Switched Telephone Network or PSTN service and violation of numbering plan and breach of licence conditions.
In its letter to TRAI, COAI has also alleged that the BSNL’s service represents evasion and bypass of Interconnect Usage Charges (IUC) in form of termination charges.
“We understand that the new service will use fixed line Caller Line Identification for making calls from mobiles and currently no termination charges are applicable for calls to and from fixed line in terms of TRAI’s prevailing IUC regulation,” COAI said.
If the service is allowed to continue, other operators with landline number series may also start using the methodology for saving on IUC, leading to major revenue implications, COAI has argued.
“In light of the serious concerns… we request your kind intervention in issuing an immediate direction to BSNL for withdrawing this app-based calling service,” COAI has said.