The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) upheld the penalty against Vodafone Idea and Airtel. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended a cumulative fine of Rs 3,050 crore against the two telecom operators for not providing points of interconnection to Reliance Jio.
Reliance Jio had filed a complaint with TRAI that 75 per cent of calls on its network were failing as incumbent telecom operators were not releasing the sufficient number of points of interconnection. Following this, the telecom regulator had recommended a penalty of Rs 3,050 crore against Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea back in October 2016 based on the complaint by the Mukesh Ambani-led telecom disruptor. The DCC, the apex decision-making body in the telecom department, approved this penalty after a meeting on Wednesday.
"DCC has accepted TRAI recommendation on penalty on Airtel, Vodafone Idea. It will send the same recommendation to the competent authority in government for their decision," news agency PTI quoted Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan as saying.
Both Airtel and Vodafone were fined Rs 1,050 crore each, whereas Idea was asked to pay Rs 950 core in fines. Since Vodafone and Idea joined their businesses in August 2018, the merged entity will have to pay the penalty for both the companies.
The DCC had approved the penalty imposed on Airtel and Vodafone Idea for not providing points of interconnection to Reliance Jio last month. But before going ahead, the Commission has sought TRAI's views on revising the Rs 3,050 crore quantum of fine, citing the "present financial health of the sector".
The telecom regulator, however, maintained its stand saying it is not in a position to modify its previously recommended penalty on the operators as it is bound by the provisions of TRAI Act.
(With PTI inputs)