airtel vodafone idea
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have moved the Telecom Tribunal to challenge the notice issued by the Department of Telecommunications for paying a total fine of Rs 3,050 crore in the ‘Point of Interconnect’ case. Industry sources said Airtel and Vodafone Idea have now moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the DoT’s (DoT) demand notice and penalty. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
E-mails sent to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited in this regard did not elicit any response. DoT has imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 crore on Vodafone Idea and Rs 1,050 crore on Bharti Airtel based on a five-year-old recommendation of regulator TRAI. According to the demand notice given to the companies, the DoT has given three weeks to the telecom operators to pay the fine.
allegation was baseless
Earlier on October 1, a Bharti Airtel spokesperson had said, “We are deeply disappointed by the arbitrary and unreasonable demand for a new operator based on the 2016 TRAI recommendations regarding the provisions of Point of Interconnection.” These allegations are baseless.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in October 2016 recommended a total fine of Rs 3,050 crore on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for denying inter-connectivity to Reliance Jio.
The regulator had at that time not recommended cancellation of the telecom license, saying it could cause a lot of inconvenience to the consumers.
Jio had made this allegation
TRAI’s recommendation came on the complaint of Reliance Jio. Jio had said that more than 75 per cent of calls were not being received on its network as sufficient number of interfaces (POIs) were not being issued. The Digital Communications Commission, the apex decision-making body of the Department of Telecommunications, had approved this fine in July 2019.
All applications of customers will now be digital
The Department of Telecom has allowed telecom companies to digitize customer application forms. This will make it easier to update the data related to the customers. The move will also free the telecom operators from the system of submitting and retaining Customer Application Forms (CAFs). As per the DoT guidelines issued for digitization of CAFs, Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are allowed to retain digitally scanned color copies of paper based CAF documents. Digitally scanned copies of CAF documents should be kept safe for all active customers.
The CAF documents consist of the CAF along with the documents of identity and proof of residence. Telecom companies are required to retain the digitally scanned copies of CAF documents for a period of three years in case of disconnected customers.
Telecom companies will get big relief
According to the guidelines, paper documents can be destroyed after digitization. However, it will need to be preserved on the instructions of law enforcement agencies/courts. The DoT said that the present provision of keeping paper documents in the godowns of service providers has expired and there is no need for audit of documents along with the paper application forms.
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