TDSAT sets up committee for BSNL-Vodafone port charge dispute

TDSAT sets up committee for BSNL-Vodafone port charge dispute

Telecom tribunal TDSAT today appointed a two-member committee that will examine the issues related to the year-long dispute between Vodafone and BSNL over the port connectivity charges.

J Gopal, a former Advisor to DoT, and R N Prabhakar, also a former Member, DoT and TRAI, are the two members.

The TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha said the matter be posted after four weeks for the next hearing.

Vodafone is having a dispute with BSNL over the state-run company's demand to pay surrender charges when the private firm wanted to change its mobile switching centre, made by Siemens to Ericsson.

The PSU had contended that shifting to a new equipment would be deemed to be a surrender of port, thereof charges will have to be paid for the entire year.

A port is the place where two telecom operators interconnect with each other's network to provide connection for each others' service.

The committee would look into aspects such as whether it was possible for BSNL to carry out the shifting of equipment without augmenting its resources.

It would also try to find a reasonable time, required for completing the process of shifting the equipment.

Observing that dispute was prolonged and some indecisive meeting had already taken place, the tribunal said, "We are of the opinion that an independent commission of two experts should be appointed to study and report to the Tribunal after examining the entire issue and after spot inspection".

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal further directed Vodafone and BSNL to "render all cooperation to the Commission" and the remuneration would be "borne by the parties in equal proportion".