The Telecom Commission has sought clarification from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the decision to fine Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular with Rs 3,050 crore, PTI reported. In October 2016, Trai had recommended a fine on the three mobile operators for failing to provide newcomer Reliance Jio with the requisite number of interconnections.
The commission has asked the Department of Telecom to approach Trai with the order, which is based on recommendations made by an expert panel. The panel questioned if Trai has the authority to impose such financial penalties on mobile operators, reported The Times of India. Among 12 other queries made by the commission is whether a 90-day period was given to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea to provide the points of interconnection to Jio.
On October 12, Jio had written to the telecom regulator alleging malpractice by the three companies which had led to multiple call drops. On October 21, Trai had made the recommendation in a letter to the Department of Telecommunication, saying the companies’ actions amounted to a violation of licence norms. Trai had recommended that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone be fined Rs 1,050 crore each and Idea, which has a smaller coverage area, pay Rs 950 crore.