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After Ambani's criticism, COAI says we are fully democratic association

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Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo
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NEW DELHI: The industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has rejected Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani's charge that the official or the CEO of the Association becomes an employee of the top two or three operators, in essence.

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COAI’s core membership includes private cellular operators, namely - Aircel Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., Idea Cellular Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, Telenor (India) Communications Private Limited., Videocon Telecom and Vodafone India Ltd. operating across the whole country.

Reacting to  Ambani’s comments, COAI director-general Rajan S Mathews hit back saying: "The comments made with reference to the functioning of COAI are absolutely incorrect and misleading. COAI is a fully democratic association and takes into account the views of all its member operators. On all policy matters, the views of COAI are fully endorsed by all or majority of its member operators,"

"Especially with regard to the Inter-connect User Charge (IUC), we would like to categorically state that the views expressed by the Association on the matter are of “all the members” except Reliance Jio, which is the only member opposing it," he said.

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"It is also completely incorrect to say that “..the official or the CEO of the Association becomes an employee of the top two or three operators, in essence," he added.

"Calling into question the credibility and integrity of the views & opinions of all its member operators is against the spirit of the conduct of members of the Association. We would expect the member partners to take utmost care while talking about the functioning of the Association," alleged Mathews.

"Our constant endeavour is to make India a fully connected and digitally empowered nation and all our member operators are fully committed to the Government’s Digital India vision," he said.

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