Trai Recommended Fine of Rs 3,050 Crore on Airtel and Vodafone Idea Gets Approval from DCC

The penalties recommended by Trai for interconnection points denial on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have been approved by the Digital Communications Commission

  • The total penalties are worth Rs 3,050 crore
  • The DCC had urged Trai to reconsider the amount of penalties a few months back

The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) which is the top wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has granted a green flag to Trai’s recommendations of levying a Rs 3,050 crore penalty on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea for denying sufficient Points of Interconnection (PoIs) to Reliance Jio. This report comes from ET Telecom and it highlights that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), had recommended the DCC that the two private telecom operators should be slapped with a Rs 3,050 crore combined penalty for denying Points of Interconnection (PoIs) to the Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator back in 2016 during its rollout.

DCC Approval Awaiting Final Clearance from Telecom Minister

It is worth noting that the DCC (Digital Communications Commission) is the highest decision making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and it has approved the recommendation asserted by Trai. The approval of the DCC will need a final clearance from the telecom minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, which will finally bring some clarity into the matter which has been brewing in the industry for the past three years. To recall, Reliance Jio had notified about the issue of insufficient points of interconnection before its launch in September 2016. The Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator had accused the existing operators in the space, including Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel of denying PoIs to the new telco. The points of interconnection allow the telecom operators to switch the calls from one network to another.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had taken into consideration Reliance Jio’s complaints and had recommended a penalty of Rs 1,050 crore each to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Rs 950 crore on Idea Cellular, for violating rules of service quality. In August 2018, Vodafone Idea had moved to Delhi High Court opposing the penalties. Now, the two telecom operators, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, are expected to challenge any penalties from Trai legally.

DCC Asked Trai to Reconsider Penalties on Telcos

Only a few days back, the Telecom regulator had clarified that it has no scope of making changes to the penalties which it recommended to the DCC for the interconnection issues. Citing the clauses in the relevant act, the regulator had recently informed the Department of Telecom (DoT) that it is “constrained from offering any further comments” on the matter and the Centre now has to take a final call on the issue. To recall, the recommendations from Trai were made back in October 2018. It was before the approval from DCC that the commission had requested Trai to retake a look at the Rs 3,050 crore penalty citing the “present financial health of the sector”.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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Sameem AnsariNasir IqbalMayank PatelArenaLove Airtel Recent comment authors
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Nasir Iqbal
Nasir Iqbal

The requested points of interconnect were provided within the prescribed time limits and were more than the numbers requested for. All these facts were presented to the authorities. It is unjustifiable that those facts have not been considered while taking this decision of imposing the penalty.

Jio, Airtel
Sameem Ansari
Sameem Ansari

What? Whaaaaaat? Were you in coma when the calls never got connected from Jio to any of these cheap cheaters?

Kiran Fernandes | Goa
Kiran Fernandes | Goa

Nice. Guess they’ll learn their lesson after they’re made to pay the fine.

Aniruddha Dhar|Santragachi|West Bengal
Aniruddha Dhar|Santragachi|West Bengal

Yes I’m very happy that AVOID cartel has been penalised for their wrongdoing to a new entrant.

Love Airtel
Love Airtel

What about predatory pricing by Jio and the destruction of the entire industry?


What’s predatory? I say jio tariff is norm and before jio its a capacity fit in play pricing… Its like, say usage is 100gb by 1000users made 20,000rs then when user base on raise, 100gb capacity limit is kept same and data prices increased to make 25,000rs stating operational costs. This is what used to happen in before jio 4g. 1gb=200-250rs before jio. Normal user paid for 1-2gb, many stayed away from data and smartphones. Telecos never bothered on infra upgrade, u know how 3g was from 2006 to 2016. Forgot R&D and other IOT type growth. Jio tariff is… Read more »

Mayank Patel
Mayank Patel

Correct ..! Be ready for jio suprise ..! They must increase price or stop to fool public by posting manipulated account result ..! Real example is jiofiber launch program their soon still not come after 1 year also ..! Because here they can’t fool people on speed and data given what they promissed in bsnl/mtnl people not ready to pay even 299? p.m then how here they gain customer ..! Hope learn from r com why they fail ..!

Love Airtel
Love Airtel

This will be overturned by courts. They won’t have to pay anything.

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