Telecom Ministry forms committee to consider Trai’s Rs 3050-cr penalty on Airtel, Vodafone & Idea

India’s telecom ministry has formed a committee to look into the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recent penalty recommendation worth Rs 3,050 crore on top telcos, according to a report in Business Standard.

Department-of-TelecommunicationA committee is formed to look at the proposal sent by TRAI. The committee will give its considerations,” Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha was quoted as saying by the publication.

The DoT has been processing the recommendation and had earlier sought legal opinion in the matter. The Trai has last month recommended Rs 3,050 crore penalty on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for not providing sufficient inter-connect points (PoI) to Reliance Jio, which resulted in huge call drops. It had then said that the top telcos’ actions were aimed at stifling competition and were anti-consumer and against public interest.

The regulator had also said the telcos had also “effectively masked the actual position of congestion” at points of interconnect (PoIs) with Reliance Jio and therefore Trai was “constrained to accept the congestion data” given by Jio.

In a letter to the telecom department, the Trai had recommended a penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle for 21 service areas, except for Jammu & Kashmir, for Airtel and Vodafone. For Idea Cellular, the regulator suggested penalty for 19 circles.

The regulator’s recommendation came after Reliance Jio complained that more than 75 per cent of the calls on its network were dropping since incumbents were not giving sufficient PoIs that would help complete calls.

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