DoT overruled on Qualcomm licence; BSNL and MTNL ordered to pay back excess interconnection fees

19 Oct 2012

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has overruled a decision from the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) reducing the period of Qualcomm’s broadband wireless access (BWA) licence from 20 years to 18, reports the Business Standard. As such, the licence will remain at 20 years.

In a separate ruling TDSAT has directed state backed operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to refund excess interconnection charges collected from Reliance Communication (RCOM), with an additional 9% interest. NDTV reports that the matter dated back to 2004 and related to a service offered by RCOM that – in contravention of its licence – provided international calls routed as national long-distance (NLD). RCOM was issued a penalty by the regulator and received demands from BSNL and MTNL for interconnection fees totalling INR6.605 billion (USD124.388 million). In July 2012, RCOM sought to reclaim INR3.77 billion from the duo, claiming that the telcos had charged for more minutes of calls than were terminated on their network, and that the fees had been miscalculated.