Telecom Operators to be Penalized for Network Roll-Out Lapses

Based on a report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to penalize some more operators for the delay in rolling out network services allotted to them. TRAI had earlier recommended the cancellation of 69 licences for a few operators including Etisalat, Uninor and Videocon over the non-fulfillment of obligations.

New revised figures recommends a penalty of Rs 31 crore for Bharati Airtel and over Rs 40 crore for Tata (CDMA service) for damages caused due to lapses in network roll-out in the circles allotted to them, The Economic Times reports.

To get the current status on network roll-out by individual operators, Department of Telecom has asked its Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring (TERM) cell to conduct field surveys. This according to officials, is done from time-to-time by DoT for ensuring that the licence terms, conditions and utilization of spectrum are carried out efficiently by operators.

Earlier the Rs 477 crore penalty imposed to operators was reduced to a lower penalty figure of Rs 135.60 crore, after several representations were made by old operators who stated that the penalty period should be calculated from the date of allotment of spectrum and not from the date of licence issuance.

As per the licence conditions, all licencees are required to unfold the services within 12 months from the date of award of licences.

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