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Telecom panel seeks clarity from Trai on Rs 3,050-cr fine

The penalty was imposed on Airtel, Idea and Vodafone for allegedly violating interconnect norms

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Telecom Commission seeks clarification on PoI penalty issue

The inter-ministerial on Monday sought clarity from Trai on the Rs 3,050-crore penalty that the watchdog recommended on three operators, including Airtel and Vodafone, for allegedly violating interconnect norms and its power to impose fines in such cases.

The Commission also approved a demand of Rs 2,834 crore, including interest, to be raised from nine telecom operators such as MTS, Tata Teleservices, Videocon, STEL, and Uninor (now Telenor), who provided services between the period February 2012, when Supreme cancelled their licences, and till the time they procured fresh permits after buying spectrum in auction.

The Commission has sought clarity on whether Trai can recommend penalty in violations related to interconnection issues, a source said.

“The has asked DoT to seek clarification from Trai on 10-12 points, including if the 90-day period was given to telecom operators for providing points of interconnection, method of calculating penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle etc and whether it can recommend penalty in such cases,” the official source said.

The source said that clarification has been sought based on the recommendation of an expert panel set up in the Department of Telecom (DoT) to study suggestion of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

"Trai has recommended penalty based on telecom licence as contract so clarification will be sought why it has not used interconnection agreement as contract. Also, congestion in network is calculated over a period of month so whether congestion was calculated on monthly average or not," the source said.

In October Trai recommended imposing total penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, and Idea for allegedly denying to newcomer

According to Trai's recommendation, the penalty for Airtel and works out to about Rs 1,050 crore each, while in case of it comes to about Rs 950 crore. The regulator stopped short of recommending cancellation of their telecom licences saying it may lead to significant consumer inconvenience.

The Trai's recommendation came on complaint by that over 75 per cent of calls on its network were failing as incumbents were not releasing sufficient number of PoIs.

In August, had submitted to Trai that it will need 12,727 PoIs for mobile services and 3,068 PoIs for STD call facility before commercial launch of its services.

The company launched commercial services on September 5.

Talking about one-time spectrum fee demand, the official said that the amount has been revised upward to Rs 2,834 crore with interest from Rs 2,557 calculated earlier.

"The demand notices will be issued sometime in the next week," the official said.

First Published: Tue, February 07 2017. 02:06 IST