Telecom Ministry forms panel to resolve telco penalty row

The Telecom Ministry has formed a committee to look into the regulator TRAI’s recommendation of a Rs.3,050 crore penalty on top three telcos — Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — for denial of interconnection points to Reliance Jio, a senior official said.

The committee has been asked to give a report on the recommendations soon. While the timeline for submission of the report is not confirmed, it is likely to be before November 15.

 The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had earlier this week suggested a hefty penalty on the three incumbents for “non-compliance of the terms and conditions of license and denial of Interconnection to RJIL appears to be with ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer.”

While the recommended fine for Airtel and Vodafone amounts to Rs.1,050 crore for 21 service areas (all, expect Jammu and Kashmir), for Idea the penalty suggested for 19 service areas (all, except for Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern States) pegged at Rs 950 crore.

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