New Delhi: Bharti Airtel has sought government’s nod to re-introduce two of its services — subscriber local dialling and Airtel-2-in-1 plan which the operator was earlier asked to withdraw for failing to meet the licence conditions and pay penalty.
Airtel 2-in-1 launched in Delhi was useful for users who want to control their STD/ISD spend by tying it with a prepaid account. This allowed them to make long distance calls without paying any security deposits. The violation was that dialling # (hash) and ‘X´ distorts the monitoring process carried out by the government as such numbers are difficult to be recorded.
Hutch was also penalised for starting a similar service, TalkOn. The Airtel 2-in-1 service and Hutch’s TalkOn entailed prefixing of ‘# X´ by a post-paid subscriber to use a separate pre-paid account for making STD/ISD calls from the same number.
Though the usage of special characters such as *, #, $ etc was permitted from subscriber’s terminals within the network of access providers for provisioning of intra-network value added services or accessing of high speed data services since 23 May 2006, DoT noted that the violation by the companies was prior to the date.
DoT noted that these companies did not stop the services immediately after they had been issued a letter to stop in November 2005.
With regard to Bharti, DoT also looked into another violation of the numbering plan wherein in 2003 it had provided local calling service in the name of subscribers’ local dialing by using special character.
DoT noted that though the company was instructed to stop service, it continued to provide the SLD service till January 2005. Hutch also continued its SLD service till December 2003.
Bharti’s plea for reconsideration comes as DoT has constituted a committee to review the penalty provision of the licence agreement under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary of DoT.