Government will look into telecom regulator's proposal to penalise 3 companies: Minister

Government will look into telecom regulator's proposal to penalise 3 companies: Minister

".not only the steps taken by Airtel were insufficient to bring down the POI congestion to the desired level of 0.5% in most of the LSAs but also that Airtel appeared to have ulterior motive to stifle competition", TRAI said in the letter.

The regulator said these operators, after repeated requests by Reliance Jio, and intervention by TRAI, have failed to provision sufficient PoIs to the new 4G operator which created quality of issue for consumers, which amounts to cancellation of license.

The telecom commission had in February asked Trai to clarify on nearly a dozen points including the basis of which the penalty amount was calculated and the provision in the law that enabled it to do so.

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. In another report, the UBS Securities Asia said that the number of Reliance Jio Infocomm Subscribers additions saw a down in April as compared to the other months.

In February this year, the TC asked Trai to clarify almost a dozen points, including whether the stipulated 90-day period was given to the three telcos for providing PoIs to the newcomer.

Jio started its operations in September previous year and had a massive growth, the company discontinued its free data offer from March with some limited extensions till July 2017.

As UBS' report points out, the data for the coming months of April and May will draw a clearer picture of what the future holds for the telecom wars, but current data does point to a much brighter future for Jio's competition.

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TraI pointed out that non-compliance of terms and conditions of the licence warrants recommendations for the revocation of the licence.

"The penalty has been recommended on the basis of an incorrect assessment of the situation on the ground", the spokesman said in a statement.

Trai said there is no provision in the licence or regulations to deny/delay provisioning of PoIs during the test phase.

The matter was placed for before inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission which made a decision to sent reference back to Trai and reconsider some of the points on which it has recommended penalty.

TRAI had recommended a fine of ₹1,050 crore each for Airtel and Vodafone, and of ₹950 crore for Idea for violating their agreement and denial of interconnection to Reliance Jio.

The regulator added that it did not agree with DoT's contention that there was a need to wait for 90 days from date of official launch for the incumbents to provide adequate Po-Is, saying they couldn't have waited longer when the quality of service parameters were so bad and millions of consumers were suffering due to blatant and wilful violation of the licence conditions.

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