The government will look into the proposal of the Indian telecom regulator on penalising three companies for not providing adequate points of interconnections (PoI) to industry newcomer Reliance Jio and will take a decision at the proper time. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has put a penalty of Rs 3,050 crore collectively on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
“Let the proposal come, we will look into it. We will decide in proper time,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said on the sidelines of a press meet here on Thursday, when asked what will be the government’s stand regarding penalising Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
In similarly worded decisions against the three operators, the TRAI on Wednesday said it “considered it appropriate to recommend penal action… in view of the large public interest involved.” The regulator sent the letter to the telecom department on Wednesday.
The regulator, in response to queries by the DoT, said on Wednesday that its earlier penalties imposed on the three companies on the basis of licence service areas (LSA) were being confirmed. It had proposed penalties of Rs 1,050 crore each on Airtel and Vodafone and Rs 950 crore on Idea for 21 and 19 licence service areas.
The sector regulator in October said the top three telecom operators in the country had violated licence norms by denying adequate PoI to Jio.
The TRAI said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may appreciate the fact that Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were “intentionally denying and delaying the provision/augmentation of PoIs to RJIL (Reliance Jio Infocomm), only to restrict a new entrant, thus violating the terms and conditions of licence and regulations/directions of the Authority, which also caused a lot of inconvenience to consumers.”