India telecom operators complain about DoT penalties


Cellular operators in India have raised the concerns of the penalties
being levied by the DoT on the operators. 

Many of the penalties are for minor technicalities and compliances with
regulations and directives that are unclear and on which the Industry itself
has sought clarification from the DoT.  

A maximum penalty of Rs 50 crore is levied without any reasoning or
personal hearing. In fact levying Rs 50 crore penalty has become more of a norm
than an exception, COAI said in a press release.

The industry represented by CEO’s and senior officials from COAI and AUSPI
highlighted that the practice of the local TERM cells to audit, determine
infringement and also levy a penalty is against the principles of natural justice
where the local TERM Cell is positioned as the judge, jury and executioner.

At a meeting convened with Kapil Sibal,
minister of Communications & IT, at the
request of the CEO’s of all the leading operators, the minister indicated that
he has already directed DoT to evolve guidelines to reduce the element of
discretion and make this process as scientific as possible.

Service providers also brought to the front the reservations and understanding
of DoT on the issue of Intra circle roaming arrangements for 3G spectrum. 

The 3G Intra-Circle Roaming is not an infringement of the licence
conditions but is well within the ambit of Licence as clarified by DoT at
various foras.

“We extend our gratitude towards the Honorable Minister Shri Kapil Sibal
for his positive approach and initiatives towards the well-being of the Indian
Telecom industry and for looking into the vital concerns at a time when the
industry is at peril. The Minister has promised to address the concern areas at
the earliest,” said Rajan S. Mathews, director general of COAI.

By Team
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