Reliance and Airtel flout norms, DoT remains silent: CAG

By May 11th, 2015 AT 6:59 PM

Reliance Communications Limited (RCL) and Airtel are found to be flouting Department of Telecommunications (DoT) guidelines, yet DoT or TERM failed to take necessary actions against them, says The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

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According to the report tabled in Parliament, Reliance Communications did not demonstrate its lawful interception and monitoring (LIM) capabilities of its network prior to launching mobile GSM services in Delhi NCR in February 2009. This regulation was made mandatory by DoT during May 2008.

In another case, Airtel was found providing leased line to a company Alfa Flight without registration with Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell, Delhi.

In both the cases, TERM cell failed terribly in enquiring and taking necessary actions against the companies. TERM Cell Delhi directed RCL to submit the necessary documents after two years (November 2011), however, it did not seek any reason for the violation of the LIM requirement. RCL submitted the certificate in March 2012. According to CAG, violation of LIM requirement can make serious impact on national security.

In response to CAG’s enquiry to TERM regarding the silence against RCL, TERM cell stated that no such no such provision in DoT order issued on February 14 2012 to RCL for demonstration of LIM facilities of GSM network. DoT and RCL remains mute on the allegation.

“The reply of TERM Cell is not acceptable as breach of terms and condition of licence agreement would attract penal action and this was reiterated in the instructions issued in May 2008 and November 2011,” the CAG said.

In case of Airtel, DoT forwarded a complaint to TERM Cell Delhi in June 2012. However, the presence of the company could not be established. “The fact remains that TERM Cell took 7 months to instruct Airtel, January 2013, to disconnect all telecom leased Lines provided to the company illegally as it may be of grave security concern,” the CAG said.

In addition to the cases against RCL and Airtel, TERM has also failed to take action against a company named Sehgal Infotech in 2013, which was running an “unauthorized” international call centre since 2009. Spanco BPO services (SBSL), another company was also operating even after the expiry of its registration, which was ignored by TERM. DoT hasn’t replied to CAG on this case. However, TERM said that there was no provision for action as per rules of Other Service Provider (OSP) registration.

These are just a few cases reported against DoT and TERM cell. Earlier, CAG blamed DoT and TERM cell for their failure to impose penalty against telecom operators for flouting mobile tower radiation rules. The reports also suggested DoT favored few telecom operators like Reliance and Tata Teleservices on spectrum usage charges. Being a body responsible to check the illegal activities in telecom sector, such failures of TERM are intolerable.

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