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TRAI: HC asks Idea, DoT to file affidavit on plea

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MUMBAI: Idea Cellular Ltd. has moved the Delhi High Court against TRAI's recommendation to impose a penalty of Rs 950 crore for allegedly not providing interconnection to Reliance Jio (RJIO), even as Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said the plea was premature. 

The DoT claimed before a bench of the justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and chief justice G Rohini that Idea's petition was not maintainable as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had only given a recommendation, PTI reported.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for DoT, opposed maintainability of the plea. Once DoT takes a decision, he said, it could become an appealable order.

The bench, thereafter, issued notice to TRAI and DoT and asked them to file affidavits on the issue of maintainability of Idea's plea before the next date of hearing on 21 February.

Idea, in its request, claimed that it complied with the requirements of RJio for points of interconnections (PoIs). As of 19 January 2016, it allocated 19,175 PoIs to RJio and contended that congestion and call failures were a consequence of RJio's "gross underestimation" of the traffic, volume, and duration of calls on its network due to its free offers.

In its plea, Idea has also contended that there was inconsistency between TRAI's Interconnection Regulations and Quality of Service Regulations.

Earlier, terming it as "premature", the central government opposed a plea by the telecom major Vodafone Mobile Services challenging TRAI's recommendation to impose Rs 1,050 crore penalty for not providing interconnectivity to Reliance Jio.

The government rejected the plea by Vodafone, which operates in 21 circles, against a penalty of Rs 50 crore per telecom circle recommended by TRAI. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had suggested the penalty on grounds that Vodafone had violated terms and conditions relating to points of interconnection among service providers.

Also Read:  Respond to Vodafone's TRAI challenge in two weeks, govt directed

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