Idea challenges govt penalty in telecom tribunal

Idea challenges govt penalty in telecom tribunal

New Delhi: Idea Cellular Ltdhas approached the telecom appellate tribunal challenging a 50-crore fine imposed on it by the government for allegedly suppressing information about subscribers.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) sent a demand notice to Ideaon 15 July after the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (Term) Cell found that the firm had not reported information on 581,082 subscribers in Andhra Pradesh at the end of May last year.

This is the second time Idea is being pulled up for suppressing information. In June, the Delhi high court slapped a fine of Rs1 crore on Idea for suppressing information relating to a case in which DoT was contesting the merger of Spice Communications Ltd’s licences with Idea in six circles.

A spokesperson for Idea said the company is contesting the issue in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and, therefore, cannot comment on the issue.

Telecom service providers have to update and submit their subscriber database to DoT every month for security reasons.

Idea has 60 days to respond to DoT’s notice before the penalty is imposed. Once the telco replies, an internal committee will look into the matter and decide if Idea is liable to pay the fine or not. The Aditya Birla group-controlled Idea said it has not violated the licence agreement and DoT has no ground for imposing the penalty.

This is the highest penalty DoT can impose on an operator for violation of the licence agreement for every circle where the violation has occurred. Idea has asked for a personal hearing to explain its stand, a DoT official said, requesting anonymity.