TRAI Can't Modify Recommended Penalty In Interconnection Case: Report

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Clearing the air around the Interconnection battle between Reliance Jio and other telcos, TRAI has said that it is no a position to modify the previously recommended penalty on Vodafone India, Idea Celluar (Before Merger), and Bharti Airtel. The main reason behind this is that the regulator is bound by the Telecom Act.

TRAI Can't Modify Recommended Penalty In Interconnection Case

 

TRAI has also intimated the Department of Telecom (DOT) that it is "constrained from offering any further comments" on the matter and take a call on the issue, reports PTI.

The regulator has already given its views in response to a backreference, back in 2017 by DOT. As per the ACT provisions there is no scope for further modifications, the report adds.

As per the Act, once a recommendation is referred back to TRAI by DoT, the regulator has to reply within 15 daysto the central government with suggestions after considering the reference made by the government.After receiving further recommendation, if any, the Centre shall take a final decision, the Act says.

In fact, Digital Communications Commission (DCC) the apex body of DOT has also approved imposing a penalty on Airtel Vodafone and Idea for not providing interconnectivity to Reliance Jio Infocomm.

However, DCC asked the TRAI to review Rs. 3,050 crores of penalty, amid financial stress in the sector.

Interconnection usage charges or "IUC" means the charge payable by one service provider to other service providers for the usage of the network elements for origination, transit or termination of the calls.

To recall, TRAI recommended imposing a total penalty of Rs. 3, 050 crores on Bharti Airtel and Vodafone for denying interconnectivity to Reliance Jio, back in October 2016.

As we all know that the telecom sector is already sitting on a huge debt and imposing another penalty on them will put more pressure on their revenue books. This could lead to another legal battle against the levy of any fine.

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