New Delhi: Anil Ambani-headed Reliance Infocomm Ltd accused state-run MTNL on 20 Februaryfor acting arbitrarily as it has increased infrastructure charges by three-fold for keeping telecom operators’ link equipment in the PSU’s premises. “These are contractual matters and the government should act fairly not arbitrarily,” contended RIL’s counsel during the proceedings of telecom tribunal TDSAT.
Under the Interconnect regulation, private operators have to station their link equipments including terminals, antennas etc in the premises of government-run MTNL and BSNL to get connected in their NLD and ILD network. For this, they have to pay rental and maintenance charges called as infrastructure charges.
RIL also alleged that despite their protests, MTNL deducted the rental for Mumbai circle from their account at the increased rate of Rs 21.75 lakh from earlier Rs 7.55 lakh. For Delhi, MTNL is charging Rs 29 lakh per annum.“It is a violation of the interconnect agreement entered between us on 16 April 2003,” said Reliance’s counsel, adding that infrastructure charge was to be fixed mutually under the agreement.
As per the Interconnect regulation framed by sectoral regulator TRAI, it should be cost-based, not profit based. On being asked, MTNL said that it has increased the rates following the report of an internal committee, which had fixed the charges based on some services provided by it. Services are, maintenance, electricity, air conditioning, fire fighting equipment and depreciation cost etc.