DoT mulling financial penalties for rural rollout delays?

7 Nov 2011

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to fine those operators that have failed to meet rural rollout commitments made as part of the shared mobile infrastructure scheme subsidised by the government. The rural rollout scheme, which was launched in 2007 and is funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), called for the deployment of around 7,300 base stations in 500 districts across 27 states that had no mobile coverage. According to India’s Economic Times, seven cellcos are understood to have delayed rolling out rolling services, those being: Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCom), Vodafone Essar, Aircel, Tata Teleservices (TTSL), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Idea Cellular. The DoT has reportedly claimed that RCom is the largest defaulter on its commitments, with the 65% of the 4,770 sites it was tasked with rolling out still reportedly not operational.