The Digital Communications Commission, the telecom department's apex decision-making body, on Wednesday approved imposing cumulative penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for not providing points of interconnection to Reliance Jio.
"DCC has accepted Trai recommendation on penalty on Airtel, Vodafone Idea. It will send same recommendation to competent authority in government for their decision," Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters on Wednesday.
In October 2016, Trai had recommended imposing a total penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea (now merged) for allegedly denying inter-connectivity to Reliance Jio.
The penalty on Airtel and Vodafone works out to be about Rs 1,050 crore each. In case of Idea, it comes to about Rs 950 crore. Since Vodafone and Idea have now merged their businesses, the new entity Vodafone Idea will have to bear the burden of both the companies.
The regulator had, at that time, stopped short of recommending cancellation of their telecom licences saying it may lead to significant consumer inconvenience.
Trai's recommendation had come on a complaint by RJio that over 75 per cent of calls on its network were failing as incumbents were not releasing sufficient number of PoIs.
The Digital Communications Commission, the apex decision-making body of DoT, last month, approved imposing penalty on Airtel and Vodafone Idea for not providing points of interconnection to Reliance Jio. But before imposing the penalty, the Commission decided to seek Trai's views on revising Rs 3,050 crore suggested penalty, citing the "present financial health of the sector".
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, however, maintained its stand saying it is not in a position to modify its previously recommended penalty on the operators as it is bound by the provisions of Trai Act.