Self Harm

Incumbents: 0, Reliance Jio: 2 (Never bring a knife to a gunfight)

After losing the POI battle to Reliance Jio, incumbent telcos are about to lose the IUC one too. Their mistake was to rely on conventional tactics


Since the disruptive entry of Reliance Jio in September last year, India’s leading telecom incumbents – Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodafone – have been hemorrhaging subscribers, revenue, and profits. But even in their darkest days of misery, they had one silver lining—every time a Jio subscriber called one of their own, their cash registers rang up 14 paise ($.002). This was the “interconnect usage charge” (IUC) that any wireless operator in India has to pay its peer for “terminating” a call on the latter’s network.

On first glance the amount looks too small to matter. Till you realize the…

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