The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 Crore on Tikona for delaying the network roll out of wireless broadband service in Rajasthan. The DoT has penalised Tikona using its discretionary powers, which are similar to 3G networks. It is said that Tikona has delayed the network roll out by more than three months. Tikona will be soon part of Bharti Airtel.
Tikona Digital, which was acquired by Bharti Airtel had purchased BWA spectrum in 5 circles for Rs 1058.2 crore in 2010 auction of radiowaves. The broadband service provider also paid Rs 97.32 back then for BWA spectrum in Rajasthan circle.
"For delay in roll out obligation, a show cause cum demand notice was issued to Tikona Digital for the imposition of a penalty of Rs 2.43 crores which equivalent to 2.5% of the successful bid amount in Rajasthan circle on October 23. The company deposited the penalty on October 25. Thereafter, its roll out was cleared," an official source told PTI.
For the unknown, as per the Broadband Wireless Auction rules of 2010, DoT will withdraw the spectrum which the spectrum holders will not use within five years from the effective date of spectrum allocation.
He further said: "After this permission for Tikona, BWA spectrum trading with Airtel was granted." The PTI report also said that Tikona had to complete the roll out of the BWA spectrum within five years from November 19, 2010, but could do so in Rajasthan only by February 11, 2016. The report also added that the action was taken way Tikona clearing the company's roll out.
The publication also approached Airtel regarding the same, and an Airtel spokesperson replied as "We strongly debunk the false and mischievous campaign being driven by the forces that had previously opposed the acquisition of Tikona. These same forces are at work again to block the availability of 4G spectrum to others. Their objective is to thwart any competition in the 4G space."
He also added that the DoT has rightly rejected a malicious campaign while granting the permission to Tikona to trade 2300 MHz spectrum in Rajasthan. Furthermore, he cited that the move would also generate additional revenue to the national exchequer through enhanced License Fee and Spectrum Usage Charges.
"Spectrum is a national asset and once acquired in auctions and paid for, should be put to service for the benefit of customers and achieve the vision of Digitally empowered India. As a responsible corporate following the highest standards of governance, we are in complete compliance with all regulations," the Airtel spokesperson said.