Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has said that the government will look into penalizing incumbents telecom players i.e Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for not providing points of interconnections (POI) to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio.
He said, "Let the proposal come; we will look into it. We will decide in proper time."
He commented after Telecom Regulator Authority of India (TRAI) has rejected to reconsider its recommendation of penalizing to incumbent players.
To recall, the Telecom Commission has also asked the department of telecom (DOT) to seek clarity from the Telecom Regulator TRAI on whether the regulator can impose the penalty on the operators for violation of interconnecting norms.
The penalty was recommended by the TRAI on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, and Idea Cellular for not providing the adequate point of interconnection to new - entrant Mukesh Ambani Reliance Jio.
The Telecom Commission has asked DOT that the regulator can recommend penalty under the mandate of the TRAI Act, 1997 in a relation of the interconnect violations and was if the telecom operators were given the 90-day period for providing these Point of Interconnections.
According to the regulator's recommendation, the penalty for Airtel and Vodafone would be around Rs. 1,050 crores each, while in a case of Idea Cellular it comes to about Rs. 950 crores. But the regulator stopped short of recommending cancellation of their telecom licenses saying it may lead to "significant consumer inconvenience".
TRAI also mentioned that denial of interconnection by these operators to Reliance Jio "appears to be with the ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer."