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Vodafone Idea To Explore All Options In Penalty Imposed By Telecom Department

India’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea Ltd. vowed to explore all options including legal recourse to protect its interests after the Department of Telecom imposed a penalty on it, along with Bharti Airtel Ltd., for not providing points of interconnection to Reliance Jio.

The telecom department’s apex decision-making body, the Digital Communications Commission, on Wednesday approved imposing cumulative penalty of Rs 3,050 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, now merged as Vodafone Idea Ltd.

The penalty on Airtel and Vodafone works out to be about Rs 1,050 crore each; while in case of Idea, it comes to about Rs 950 crore. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular merged their operations in 2018.

“This issue pertaining to points of interconnection has been examined by the Department of Telecom, various parliamentary and judicial authorities with no case for any default established…Further, the jurisdiction to decide any interconnection dispute between two service providers lies exclusively with Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal,” Vodafone Idea said in a statement.

Citing reports, the statement said that it appeared that even the DoT panel examining regulator TRAI’s recommendations was not unanimous and in fact at least four committee members out of seven had differing views on the subject.

“…Supreme Court in its judgment dated Dec. 5, 2018 clearly stated that proceedings under TRAI Act have not been concluded due to absence of findings on some key aspects,” it added.

Vodafone Idea said that being India’s leading telecom operator, it abides by stringent norms of governance and complies with all applicable laws and regulation while conducting its business in an ethical and conscientious manner.

“We will explore all options, including seeking legal recourse to protect our interests,” the statement pointed out.―Bloomberg Quint

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