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Government seeks to fine Airtel for violating 2005 telecom rules news
30 May 2013

Bharti Airtel shares fell nearly 2 per cent this morning after reports that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is preparing to fine the company around Rs6,500 crore for alleged violation of old telecom licensing rules on long-distance calls.

Reports said the DoT has approved imposition of demand notices adding up to this amount for violating licence conditions by providing SLD [the antiquated straight long dial] services.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal has approved the recommendations of a DoT committee which stated that the maximum permissible financial penalty of Rs 50 crore each for 13 circles where the violations took place may be imposed on Bharti Airtel.

According to the DoT notice, Bharti allowed roaming subscribers to make and receive calls at local prices, which the telecoms ministry says bypassed rules for national long-distance calls in the years between 2002 and 2005.

A Bharti Airtel spokesman declined to comment to the media, saying the company was yet to receive any notice from the ministry.

The DoT committee added that Bharti Airtel should be asked to provide the call detail records (CDRs) of all calls in respect of the SLD service, and account for the loss incurred to the national exchequer in the form of licence fee and spectrum charges should also be recovered from the company.

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Government seeks to fine Airtel for violating 2005 telecom rules