2G: action recommended to govt against erring cos: TRAI to SC

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said the two companies failed to fulfill roll-out obligations and their merger was in violation of rules.

"The authority (TRAI) wrote to DoT that Idea and Spice are in violation of the terms and conditions pertaining to roll-out obligations and the merger between the two companies is in violation of the guidelines for the Intra-Service area merger," it said in its its 19-page affidavit.

"Hence, the licenses of Idea in Punjab and Karnataka service area and Spice in respect of Maharashtra, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh service area may be cancelled," the regulator said.

The regulator also submitted it had recommended to the government in November last year to take punitive action against the telecom companies for not fulfilling their roll-out obligations.

"The authority wrote to DoT stating that 69 licenses out of 130 did not fulfill the mandatory roll-out obligations and recommended that immediate necessary action be taken by the DoT against them," TRAI said.

TRAI filed its response after apex court had questioned its role for remaining "silent" when the telecom companies failed to fulfill the roll-out obligations for 2G spectrum.
"Why did TRAI not take action? Why was it silent for around one year and seven months? TRAI is treated as the highest regulatory authority in telecom sector and even in terms of the consumer. What was it doing?," the court had said.

Responding to the court's query, the Tribunal said that being a recommendatory body, it has been suggesting to the government from time to time to take action against the erring companies but it is for the government to decide whether action should be taken against them or not.

TRAI, which narrated the sequence of events between 2006 and December 22, 2010, on the issue of unified access service licence, said it had written to telecom companies for not fulfilling their roll-out obligations and has been seeking report from service providers from time to time to ensure speedy roll-out of network in compliance with the terms and conditions of the license.

The apex court had decided to examine the alleged illegalities in allocation of 2G spectrum during the tenure of A Raja as Telecom Minister asking the Centre and telecom companies to explain why the licences be not cancelled.

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