New JIO tariff plans against TRAI norms: Vodafone to HC

New JIO tariff plans against TRAI norms: Vodafone to HC

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said this while standing by its earlier recommendation on imposing penalty of Rs 3050 crore on these three operators for not providing enough PoIs (points of interconnect) to Jio that led to massive call failures. This, it said was violation of the terms and conditions of license "which also caused a lot of inconvenience to consumers".

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.

Compared to 1.2 million new customers in February, Airtel added 3 million new users in March; Idea added 2.1 million in March compared to 1.2 million in February, while 1.8 million new customers joined Vodafone in March, compared to 0.8 million in February.

"The Authority considered the fact that revocation of the license will entail significant consumer inconvenience and, therefore, recommended a penal action of Rs 50 crore per license area where points of interconnect (POI) congestion exceeded the allowable limit of 0.5%".

Trai said that the operators are bound by licence conditions that make it obligatory on it "maintaining Quality of Service" and "a breach thereof is liable to be treated as breach of terms and conditions of the licence". The DoT then asked the regulator for more clarification on this matter and asked the regulator to reconsider its recommendations.

ET had first reported on May 13 that Trai would double down on its stand against DoT's objections.

Idea cellular added 680,000 subscribers and Vodafone India bagged 750,000 subscribers said a report of COAI.

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Trai said there is no provision in the licence or regulations to deny/delay provisioning of PoIs during the test phase. DoT will now consider Trai's views and take a decision.

On another point, Trai said, "It is surprising that DoT, as the licensor, is not aware of the date of launch of commercial service by Reliance Jio".

Airtel requested the Department of Telecom (DoT) to reject the recommendations and "take into consideration the actions taken on ground by Bharti Airtel".

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

The regulator in the letter said the incumbent operators were capable to provide the required PoIs to Reliance Jio in order to enable a congestion free service but the operators denied and delayed the same deliberately.

Trai's reply on penalties will go back to the TC, an inter-ministerial panel which comprises the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion secretary, economic affairs secretary, Niti Aayog chief executive officer and IT secretary as members, which will take the 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", said Trai.

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