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Bharti Airtel Ltd's CEO Writes To Sibal Seeking Intervention On INR6.5 Billion Penalty-The Hindu Business Line

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 08:00pm EDT 

The Hindu Business Line reported that Bharti Airtel Ltd's sought Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s intervention on a penalty of INR6.50 billion being imposed on the Company by the Department of Telecom. The penalty is being imposed for offering services that were allegedly not permitted under the licence. Defending the Company, Vittal has written to Sibal seeking a hearing on the matter. The case dates back to 2003 when Airtel was found to be offering its customers a service called Subscriber Local Dialling. Under this service, a subscriber would be able to get all calls as a local call while roaming. For example, if a Delhi subscriber travelled to Mumbai, he would be able to get incoming calls from Mumbai contacts as a local call. According to the DoT, such a call should have been routed to Delhi first on the national long distance network and then bring it back to Mumbai. By routing the call in Mumbai itself, Airtel has bypassed the long distance network which is against the licence conditions, the DoT said in an internal note seen by Business Line. According to the department, this caused revenue loss to the Government in the form of lower licence fee from the long distance operations. Vittal said that there has been no communication from DoT on this case for over eight years and therefore the Company would face a huge handicap if the penalty was imposed at this stage. 

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