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Jio vs Rivals: Telecom battle goes legal with CCI

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​Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India. The CCI has registered four cases against telecom companies. No extra points for guessing that newcomer Reliance Jio, part of Mukesh Ambani led Reliance group is in the limelight here also. There is one case by Jio against other operators and two against Jio for alleged violation of competition laws.

Recently, Reliance Jio had filed a complaint against some telecom operators and others for alleged violation of competition norms and the CCI is yet to take a decision on the issue. Among others, the complaints about unfair competitive practices and abuse of dominance have also been filed against regulator TRAI, DoT, industry body COAI, as also against operators Bharti Airtel, Idea, Vodafone India, Aircel, Videocon Telecommunications, Telenor and BSNL.

Reliance Jio, which commercially launched its services on September 5 and offers free voice call, had accused that incumbent players such as Airtel, Vodafone and Idea of not providing enough connectivity for completing calls even as the allegation has been vehemently denied by them. So how can other telecom companies not complain to CCI against Reliance Jio for disrupting pricing?

Giving details of these complaints, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Mehgwal informed Parliament, “The CCI has registered four cases against cellular service providers alleging Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act.” While Section 3 of the Competition Act pertains to anti-competitive practices, Section 4 relates to abuse of dominant position. The Minister was replying to a query on whether CCI has received complaints of unfair competition and monopoly practised by the cellular service providers against certain private cellular service providers. “Under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002, the CCI is mandated, inter-alia, to impose penalties and/ or issue cease and desist orders in cases of unethical practices such as anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance,” he said.

Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Man’ or ‘Aam Aadmi’ has access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices. With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialize. It is the duty of the Commission (CCI) to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India

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