Telecom Department (TD) has asked Airtel to pay Rs 1,050 crore and Vodafone Idea (VIL) Rs 2,000 crore within 3 weeks.
Key points to note –
- Penalties are being imposed on the Companies for allegedly breaking licence terms by denying Reliance Jio Infocomm their networks in 2016.
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended fines in 2016; the TD had accepted its recommendations in June 2019 but had not served the notices till now.
The demand is interesting in the backdrop of recently announced relief measures by the government, consequent to which there are expectations of industry trying to revive again. Airtel has been pitching for peace with competition and VIL’s promoters are expected to infuse further capital.
However, notices are like these would not help the cause and further complicate the revival, especially for VIL – whose promoters in any case are wary of putting in further capital with almost Rs 2 lakh crore of liabilities already sitting in the books.