Vodafone India has been hit with a Rs 100-crore fine by the Indian Department of Telecommunications. The fine comes as a result of the company having provided Subscriber Local Dialing (SLD) in two regions between 2003 and 2005. Bharti Airtel was hit with a fine of Rs 650 crore for similar reasons, except it was providing the service in 13 regions.
SLD is a service that essentially lets customers that are on roaming to be on the local network. This helps the customer avoid paying roaming and STD charges for calls. The problem is that this violates the national routing plans and lets the companies avoid the levy charged with every long-distance call. Despite both Bharti Airtel and (at the time) Hutch being directed to stop providing SLD in June 2003, the latter continued offering the service till 2005.
The DoT is now after Vodafone
While Vodafone hasn't given any comment on the situation, a Bharti Airtel executive has stated that the company offered this service for the benefit of customers, since it can potentially lower the bill by a drastic amount. “There was no revenue or profit gain to Bharti by offering this facility to its customers,” he said.
The fine comes in a series of actions taken by the DoT to better regulate the Indian telecom industry. Just last month, the DoT was suggesting a steep penalty for every unsolicited commercial call that a telemarketer makes. It has been found, though, that the issue of pesky calls and SMSes has been coming more from unregistered telemarketers.
Bharti Airtel, Bharti SLD, Bharti Subscriber Local Dialing, Department of Telecom, Department of Telecommunications, DoT, Mobile services, SLD, Subscriber Local Dialing, Vodafone, Vodafone services, Vodafone Subscriber Local Dialing