DoT says SingTel violated ILD norms; clean chit to Bharti, Tatas | business | Hindustan Times
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DoT says SingTel violated ILD norms; clean chit to Bharti, Tatas

The Telecom Ministry has pulled up SingTel for violating ILD licence norms by acquiring and billing customers in India without a licence between 2005 and 2009, while giving a clean chit to airtel and Tatas which provided international private lease circuits to the foreign firm.

business Updated: Apr 24, 2011 13:29 IST

The Telecom Ministry has pulled up SingTel for violating ILD licence norms by acquiring and billing customers in India without a licence between 2005 and 2009, while giving a clean chit to airtel and Tatas which provided international private lease circuits to the foreign firm.

"The committee constituted by DoT recommends that it is a mistake solely on the part of Singapore Telecom Ltd (SingTel) which invoiced the customers at the Indian end.

"Accordingly, the committee opines that Tata Communications and Bharti airtel are not liable to pay any penalty in response to the show-cause notices issued by DoT for violation of the terms and conditions of ILD license," the Department of Telecom (DoT) said in a note.

The DoT had set up a committee to examine and suggest the amount of penalty to be imposed on Tata Communications and Bharti airtel for the violation of ILD licence norms.

As per the licencing norms, the Indian ILD operators are authorised to provide the Indian circuits to a foreign carrier (like SingTel in this case) so that they are able to provide end-to-end services to their customers in their territories.

The committee found, from submissions made Bharti, that it had raised the invoice to SingTel at their Singapore address for the portion of the circuit provided by Bharti.

Airtel paid the applicable licence fee on the revenue earned by providing the Indian half circuit.

"...The committee feels that prima facie, Bharti Airtel has adhered to the ILD licencing and regulatory conditions," the report said. While Tata Communications Limited (erstwhile VSNL) said in its reply that SingTel has not submitted any document showing that the customer has acquired outside India and Tatas has not felt any need till now to check this because as per the agreement, SingTel can acquire customers only in its own licenced territory and not in India.

Tatas have, however, taken immediate corrective steps and took confirmation from all foreign carriers that they are neither contracting nor billing the customers in India under such agreements.

The committee also observed that Tatas too have paid the licence fee on revenues earned by them for providing half leased circuits to Singapore Telecommunications Limited and observed "Tata Communications Limited is not liable to pay any penalty in response to the show cause notice issued by the DoT."

As a measure of safeguard, the committee recommended issuance of an instruction to all ILD service providers that their agreements with entities/foreign carriers must contain stipulations to ensure provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and terms and conditions of licence agreement are not violated.

It should also be ensured that foreign carriers, which do not have an Indian licence, do not contact customers in India for provision of telecom services, and do not issue invoices to customers at Indian-end.