Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Telecom panel seeks clarity from regulator on penalty norms

The matter relates to the sectoral regulator recommending Rs 50 crore per circle penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in October last year.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
February 7, 2017 6:04:25 am

The Telecom Commission on Monday directed the department of telecom (DoT) to seek clarity from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on whether the regulator can impose penalty on the operators for violation for interconnect norms.

The matter relates to the sectoral regulator recommending Rs 50 crore per circle penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in October last year. The total amount of the fine stands at around Rs 3,050 crore with a penalty of Rs 1,050 crore each on Airtel and Vodafone, while in the case of Idea it comes to about Rs 950 crore.

Trai had recommended the penalty after Reliance Jio Infocomm, in August 2016, had complained that more than 75 per cent calls on its network were failing as incumbents were not releasing sufficient points of interconnection (PoIs).

Sources said that the inter-ministerial panel, in its meeting held on Monday, has sought clarity on about a dozen issues relating to due diligence and process including the Rs 3,050 crore penalty on the telcom operators.

“What the Telecom Commission wants to be clarified is whether the regulator can recommend penalty under the mandate of the TRAI Act, 1997 in relation of the interconnect violations. Another issue was if the telecom operators were given the 90-day period for providing these PoIs,” they added.

Other issues that need clarification included whether the penalty amount was reached after calculating the network congestion on a monthly average basis and the fine being based upon the license as contract and not on the interconnection agreement between the operators, sources explained. The issues have been raised based on the suggestions of the expert committee that was set up in the DoT last year to look into the R3,050 crore penalty on Bharti, Vodafone and Idea.

Besides the penalty issue, the Telecom Commission has also approved the demand of close to R2,835 crore, which is to be raised from nine operators including Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices.

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