TRAI Current Affairs - 2019
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The Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body of Department of Telecom (DoT), has approved levying of penalty on Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. for denial of interconnection to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. when the latter had entered market in 2016.
Despite the approval for imposing penalty, the inter-ministerial panel of DCC has asked Telecom Regulatory authority of India (TRAI) to review penalty amount worth ₹3,050 crore considering the financial stress in telecom sector.
No Troubling Users: However, TRAI recommended penalty, instead of revoking operator’s license so as to avoid consumer inconvenience. The telecom regulator while recommended a fine for Airtel and Vodafone amounting to ₹1,050 crore each and for Idea it was ₹950 crore but since Vodafone and Idea have now merged to form Vodafone-Idea (becoming largest telecom carrier in India), the new entity will have to bear the combined burden.
In October 2016, TRAI recommended total penalty of ₹3,050 crore on 3 Telephone Company namely Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, for violating their licence agreement and denial of interconnection to newer entrant Reliance Jio which complained that more than 75% of calls on its Jio network failed as its rivals did not releasing sufficient number of points of interconnect (PoI).
TRAI also upheld that the act of 3 operators was against public interest and in violation of their licence agreement, which warrants revocation of operator’s licence.
Since then TRAI’s decision had followed a prolonged battle between telecos- Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Celluar. Reliance Jio alleged that its subscribers were unable to make calls to other networks (Airtel/Vodafone/Idea) as those operators were not providing adequate inter connection points.
About Digital Communications Commission
DCC was formerly called ‘Telecom Commission’. It is the top decision-making body in Department of Telecommunications (DoT), under Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Members: Telecom secretary is ex-officio chairperson of DCC. The full-time members of panel include DoT’s Additional Secretary, Member (finance), Member (services) and Member (technology). The part-time members of body are NITI Aayog’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) secretary and Ministry of Electronics and IT secretary.
Tags: Bharti Airtel Ltd. • Department of Economic Affairs • Department of Telecommunications • Digital Communications Commission • Ministry of Electronics and IT secretary • Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. • Telecom Regulatory authority of India • Telecom secretary • TRAI • Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. • Vodafone Idea Ltd
The TRAI has released the Tele-density data of India. Important observations from the TRAI data are listed below:
- The total number of mobile phone subscribers in India by the end of November was 117.18 crore with a net addition of 17.39 lakh customers during the month.
- The private access service providers held 89.99 per cent market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, had a market share of only 10.01 per cent as on November 2018.
- Reliance Jio led the subscription race in November 2018 adding around 88.01 lakh subscribers across the country.
- State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) added around 3.78 lakh subscribers in November, taking its total tally to 11.38 crore.
- Airtel added around 1.02 lakh new customers in November, taking its total tally to 34.18 crores.
- On the other hand, Vodafone Idea lost around 65.26 lakh subscribers.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. TRAI is the watchdog of the telecommunications sector in India.
The main objective of TRAI is to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition and to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country in a manner and at a pace which will enable India to play a leading role in the emerging global information society.
Through an amendment to the TRAI Act, a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) was established to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.