Government today said there will be no special treatment for Vodafone India and Idea Cellular which have decided to merge and the companies will have to comply with existing norms on spectrum, subscriber and revenue caps. “They have to comply with the rules…there will be no special treatment,” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters. Sinha further said that there is no fear of cartelisation in the telecom sector in the wake of large number of mergers and acquisitions. “After consolidation, there will still be 5-6 players in each service area. So, cartelisation is not possible. Also, there are guidelines on revenue cap, subscriber cap and spectrum cap which will ensure a healthy competition. We have taken all precautions”.
8.7 lakh tel subscriber forms non-compliant with norms: Mnaoj Sinha
As many as 8.7 lakh out of 1.7 crore customer acquisition forms have been found non-compliant with subscriber verification norms by the monitoring wing of Telecom Department, Parliament was informed today. “During last year 2016 and current year i.e 2017 (up to February 28, 2017) out of total of 1.71 crore CAFs audited, a total of 8.76 lakh CAFs were found non-compliant to the prescribed CAF verification norms by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cells,” Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
Telecom operators are mandated to verify all customers as per prescribed Know Your Customer (KYC) norms before enrolling them. The existing instructions on subscriber verification have been issued by Telecom Department in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
In order to ensure adherence to the instructions by all the telecom operators in carrying out the verification as per the prescribed KYC norms, the TERM Cells carry out sample verification of CAF of 0.1 per cent of all customers available in the system at the end of each month.
The sample size in case of Jammu and Kashmir, North East and Assam service areas is 0.2 per cent on quarterly basis.
The verification process by TERM cells brings out non compliant cases where DoT guidelines were violated by operators including cases of missing forms, pre-activated mobile connections, missing photos or proof of identity in the form and alleged forged documents, among others.
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As per the guidelines, non-compliance attracts a stringent penalty ranging from Rs 1,000 to up to Rs 50,000 per CAF based on the failure rate. Also, there is provision for filing of complaints and FIR against forged cases. In addition, the service provider has to either disconnect or submit compliant form to the monitoring unit within 72 hours failing which financial penalty is prescribed, the minister added.
Recently, the Supreme Court has directed re-verification of all existing mobile subscribers through Aadhaar-based eKYC preferably within one year.
To another question, the minister said that the Wifi hotspots are proposed to be set up in all Gram Panchayats in the country, leveraging the BharatNet infrastructure for provision of services to citizens in rural areas, with funding from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Also a scheme for setting up 25,000 public wifi hotspots at rural telephone exchanges of BSNL has been approved from the Fund.