October 18, 2021

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PoI case: TDSAT asks DoT not to encash bank guarantees against Airtel, Vi till next hearing

Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) Tuesday asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) not to encash any bank guarantees (BGs) against Bharti and (Vi) for allegedly denying points of interconnection (PoIs) to Reliance Jio, till the next hearing.

The TDSAT on Tuesday was hearing the pleas of the two telcos against the penalty order by DoT for allegedly denying Jio adequate PoIs in 2016, which affected the quality of services. The matter will be heard on october 26.

DoT has slapped the two telcos with cumulative fines worth Rs 3,050 crore, which had to be paid within 21 October.

While the two telcos protested against these penalties alleging that any breach would have been for a day or two but not for month plus, as DoT and regulatory body had recommended. DoT said it will take instructions from the relevant departments.

The battle started when Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended fines of Rs1,050 crore each in 2016 on Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel for violating licence conditions over quality of service by not granting adequate PoIs to Jio in 21 circles each.

Idea Cellular was fined Rs 950 crore for flouting rules in 19 circles. PoIs are required for voice calls to go through from one network to another – in this case, from Jio’s network to those of Bharti, Idea and Vodafone.

Vodafone and Idea merged in August, 2018. The DoT accepted the regulator’s recommendations in June 2019 but had not served the notices till now.

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