DoT commission seeks impact of SC, CCI order in Rs 3,050 cr penalty on old players


New Delhi: The Digital Communications Commission asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to inform it about bearing of orders of the Supreme Court and the Competition Commission of India on the Rs 3,050 crore penalty case of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

The commission, which is the highest decision-making body of the DoT and formerly known as Telecom Commission, deferred a decision on the penalty till its next meeting.

“The DCC has asked DoT to come back to it after assessing bearing of SC and CCI order on Rs 3,050 crore penalty case of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea,” a government official told reporters.

The telecom watchdog Trai in October 2016 recommended imposing a total penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for allegedly denying interconnectivity to newcomer Reliance Jio.

The regulator stopped short of recommending cancellation of their telecom licences saying it may lead to significant consumer inconvenience.

The DCC deferred a decision on the penalty as the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) secretary Ramesh Abhishek and IT secretary Ajay Prakash Shawney were not present in the meeting.

The DCC has asked DoT to bring the detailed report when all members of the commission are present.

The penalty on Airtel and Vodafone works out to about Rs 1,050 crore each, while in case of Idea Cellular it comes to about Rs 950 crore.

The Trai’s recommendation came on a complaint by Reliance Jio that over 75 per cent of calls on its network were failing as incumbents were not releasing sufficient points of interconnection (PoIs).

In August, Reliance Jio had submitted to Trai that it will need 12,727 PoIs for mobile services and 3,068 PoIs for STD call facility before the commercial launch of its services. The company launched commercial services on September 5.

A DoT committee comprising seven members of the department had expressed divergent views on penalty recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. Four members of the panel rejected the penalty while three favoured it.

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