India’s Digital Communications Commission (DCC) reversed course and supported the telecoms regulator’s recommended fines on Bharti Airtel and the constituent parts of Vodafone Idea for hindering Reliance Jio’s access to interconnection points in 2016, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
Earlier in the month, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) dismissed a request in June by the DCC to reassess the size of the penalties, which amounted to INR30.5 billion ($445 million).
The DCC backed TRAI’s conclusion Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular had restricted access to interconnection points by Jio. However, given the current severe price-pressures facing mobile operators in the Indian market, the DCC called for the size of the penalties to be slashed from INR500 million per service area to between INR5 million and INR50 million.
The operators are expected to challenge the decision in court.
Airtel said it was disappointed with the ruling, adding that the “arbitrary” move would burden the already financially stretched operators and slow the government’s digital India plan, ET wrote. The operator, the third largest in India, said it will approach the “appropriate forum” after receiving official notices about the penalty.
In a statement, market leader Vodafone Idea said it will explore all options, including taking legal action to protect its interests, the newspaper reported.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back