Responding to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (Trai) proposal for a 1050 crore fine on Bharti Airtel, Sunil Mittal, Chairman Bharti stated that the company would respond to the proposal in due course of time.
TRAI had recommended to the Department of Telecom (DoT) that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular be fined Rs 3050 crore for failing to provide adequate Points of Interconnection (PoIs) to rival Reliance Jio. In its letter to the Department of Telecom, TRAI had found the three telcos guilty of violating both licence conditions and quality of service (QoS) rules leading to a high rate of call failures and congestion at interconnect points for the new entrant Reliance Jio.
"We will respond to Trai (telecom regulator) and DoT when the time comes," he said. Mittal also refuted charges that Airtel had refused to provide enough PoIs, he stated, "Points of interconnect have been liberally given...Points of interconnect is not an issue."
Releasing Q2 results yesterday, Bharti Airtel had stated that the mobile industry had suffered a slow down due to the slew of freebies (Free data and service) being provided by Jio.
"When something out there in the market is free and it's being consumed, obviously data growth in that sense will taper off for a period of time...Let us wait till December...That is the time we need to assess...After that a couple of quarters ...To see how it settles down," stated Mittal at a GSMA event where he called on the government for moderating the price of spectrum. He stated that moderate pricing will allow telcos to focus resources on infrastructure development.
"We would like to see some of the spectrum prices being more moderated. As an industry, we believe this vital resource is better utilised out on the radio base stations than staying with the government and other government users. Because it has a multiplier effect, it can move the economy, and create momentum in the economy," he said.
In the recently conducted spectrum auction, the telecom sector had largely refrained from buying premium radiowaves in the 700 MHz band which were being sold at a base price of Rs 11,485 crore per MHz. Indian telecom industry bodies such as the GSMA have since termed the rates as unrealistic and have exhorted the government to reconsider the pricing policy.