The fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India ( CCI) has finally directed its investigation team to complete the probe against incumbents telcos in 60 days for denying network connectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio.
The DG is directed to complete the investigation and submit investigation report within a period of 60 days," the CCI said in its 30-page order.
The CCI said that the incumbent telecom operators (or ITOs) appeared to have entered into an agreement among themselves, through the platform of COAI, to deny Point of Interconnect - or network connectivity - to Reliance Jio.
"Having been prima facie convinced that the impugned conduct is an outcome of anti-competitive agreement against the ITOs, Commission does not find it appropriate to consider the same impugned conduct as unilateral action by each of the ITOs," it said.
The order also pointed out on the role Cellular Operators Association of India and says that it has facilitated the joint conduct of the incumbent operators to collectively decide to prevent the successful entry of Jio in the telecom sector.
Trade association, it said, have "legitimate and beneficial functions" and can play an important role in advancing policy initiatives.
However, two out of six members have submitted a dissent note against a probe.
To recall, last year in November, Reliance Jio filed a complaint against telcos of acting as a cartel in the industry on the basis of a letter that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
TRAI had also suggested the ministry impose a penalty of over Rs. 3,000 on the three companies, however, the matter is with telecom tribunal TDSAT.