TDSAT asks Videocon to pay 60% of 2G penalty

TDSAT asks Videocon to pay 60% of 2G penalty

New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Friday asked another new operator Videocon Telecom to pay 60% of Rs12.45 crore penalty slapped on it by the Department of Telecom (DoT) for missing roll-out obligations, while admitting its appeal against DoT.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) bench, headed by Justice SB Sinha, allowed Videocon’s plea but directed it to pay around Rs3 crore within two weeks. The company has already paid Rs6.95 crore to DoT.

TDSAT’s interim order follows Videocon plea, challenging the demand notice issued by DoT seeking liquidated damages (LD) for not rolling out its services within the stipulated period of one year.

On 1 January, DoT had issued notice to Videocon demanding LD for four circles.

It has demanded Rs6.95 crore for Kolkata circle, Rs3.35 crore for West Bengal circle, Rs1.95 crore for UP East circle and 0.25 crore for Haryana circle.

Earlier, in a similar case, TDSAT had directed Uninor to pay 60% of its penalty amount demanded by the DoT for failing to roll-out services in 18 circles.

Directing DoT to file reply within two weeks, TDSAT has listed the matter on 10 February, for next hearing.

Senior advocate Meet Malhotra, appearing for Videocon, said the delay was caused by government restrictions on import of telecom equipment on account of security, apart from delay in SACFA Clearance in granting spectrum or radio waves.

While the company is contesting the penalty charges imposed on it for four circles, it has already paid LD for the Kolkata circle under protest. The deadline for payment of damages for the remaining three circles, for which it has been served notices, was to expire on Friday.

DoT had sent notices to several firms, which got new 2G licenses bundled with start up spectrum but have not started offering services in various circles.

As per the conditions of the unified access service license (UASL), the telcos are required to roll-out their networks within one year from the date of allocation of spectrum.

According to the agreement, in case new licencees fail to roll-out services within the stipulated period, DoT shall be entitled to recover LD charges.