Sector regulator TRAI recommended imposing Rs. 3,050 crores fine on leading networks
In a setback to major telecom operators,Sector regulator TRAI recommended imposing Rs. 3,050 crores fine on leading networks which include Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Idea cellular for apparently refusing interconnectivity to the debutant Reliance Jio.
TRAI, in its proposal to the Department of Telecom, stated that it had located the trio to be contumacious with licensing conditions and services gave the high rate of call crashes and congestion at interconnect points for Reliance Jio.
It is also noted that this non-compliance by the operators seems to be the clandestine motive to smother competition.
According to the TRAI’s recommendation, the fine for Vodafone and Airtel total up to approximately Rs. 1,050 crores, whereas for Idea Cellular the penalty is about Rs. 950 crores. The regulator prevented short of recommending termination of their telecom license as it may result in significant consumer inconvenience.
The penalty was launched after Reliance Jio complaint that over 75 percent of calls on its network are crashing because they are not giving adequate points of interconnect that would complete the calls.
TRAI in a specified letter to the DoT secretary said that the action of the three operators was strictly against the public interest.
When confronted Airtel about the issue, the spokesperson explained that they are continuously supplementing the Pols offered to Reliance Jio and rate of supplementation has been the fastest ever. Moreover, he said that the company is in full agreement with the agreement for service set by TRAI.
While Idea and Vodafone didn’t reply immediately on the TRAI recommendation, and emails sent to Reliance are also unanswered.
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TRAI went lashing out on the operators saying that their act deserves recommendations for revocation of license. However the authority is well aware of the fact that revocation will create some serious inconvenience to the users, so in the view of public interest, the authority limit the penalty to Rs 50n crores each.