New Delhi: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have moved the Telecom Tribunal to challenge the notices issued by the DoT for paying a total fine of Rs 3,050 crore in the ‘point of interconnect’ case. Industry sources said Airtel and Vodafone Idea have now moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the DoT’s (DoT) demand notice and penalty. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
E-mails sent to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited in this regard did not elicit any response. DoT has imposed a penalty of Rs 2,000 crore on Vodafone Idea and Rs 1,050 crore on Bharti Airtel based on a five-year-old recommendation of regulator TRAI. According to the demand notice given to the companies, the DoT has given three weeks to the telecom operators to pay the fine.
Earlier on October 1, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson had said, “We are deeply disappointed by the arbitrary and unreasonable demand for a new operator based on the 2016 TRAI recommendations regarding provisions for Point of Interconnection. These allegations are baseless.
The regulator had at that time not recommended cancellation of the telecom licence, saying it could cause a lot of inconvenience to the consumers. TRAI’s recommendation came on the complaint of Reliance Jio. Jio had said that more than 75 per cent of calls were not being received on its network as sufficient number of interfaces (POIs) were not being issued. The Digital Communications Commission, the apex decision-making body of the Department of Telecommunications, had approved this fine in July 2019.