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28 May 2017, 02:18 | Candice Butler
Govt suffered Rs 400 cr revenue shortfall on breach of license conditions by Airtel, Vodafone, says Jio
Traisaid it took cognisance of all the submissions of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea including the efforts made by them but the steps taken were insufficient to bring down the PoI congestion to the desired level.
New telecom entrant Reliance Jio has said that the government suffered a revenue shortfall of over Rs 400 crore in FY17 on account of violation of license conditions by the incumbent telcos. Trai also rejected DoT's point that the recommendations may not stand legal scrutiny, saying that these were framed only after observing continued violation of quality of service norms and licence conditions, and after show-cause notices were served and the views of the erring telcos taken on board. Airtel led the industry table with 2.85 million additions followed by Vodafone (0.76 million) and Idea at 0.68 million subscribers during April.
In a letter to Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Jio, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, said incumbent telcos paid advanced license fee for Q4 on the basis of estimated adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for the quarter, which is much lower, Business Standard reported.
Trai recommended penalties of Rs 1,050 crore each on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, and Rs 950 crore on Idea Cellular in October past year, on the grounds that the carriers violated licence norms by denying adequate PoIs - needed for completing calls from one carrier to another - to Jio, adding that their actions appeared to be aimed at stifling competition, were anti-consumer and against the public interest. "On the contrary, the testing can not be completed unless sufficient PoIs are provided", it said.
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.
An Airtel spokesperson said his company disagreed with Trai's observations, adding the penalty was recommended on the basis of an incorrect assessment of the situation on ground.
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Stating that it is mandated by law to ensure effective interconnection and quality of service to the consumers, Trai said non-compliance of terms and conditions of the licence warrants recommendations for the revocation of the licence.
It said there was no provision in the licence or TRAI Regulation "to deny/delay provisioning of PoIs during the test phase". Now, the recommendations will go back to the panel, which will take a final call.
"In this context, the denial and delay in providing PoIs when the quality of service (QoS) parameters were not being met can not be explained in any other manner but wilful".
The authority said it had been monitoring the PoI congestion and call failure data for over three months.
As per Trai's recommendation, the penalty for Airtel and Vodafone worked out to about Rs 1,050 crore each, while in case of Idea Cellular stood at about Rs 950 crore.
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