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Vodafone misrepresented facts in SIM renting case: Matrix

Dec 02 2013, 03:37 IST
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SummaryIn 2007, the DoT had alleged Vodafone, Airtel and Idea rented SIMs to Matrix Cellular in bulk, violating subscriber verification norms.

International SIM card provider Matrix Cellular has alleged that telecom operator Vodafone has “misrepresented” facts in the SIM renting case of 2007 to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

Vodafone declined to comment on the matter.

In 2007, the DoT had alleged Vodafone, Airtel and Idea rented SIMs to Matrix Cellular in bulk, violating subscriber verification norms and causing loss to the exchequer by not showing the revenue gains from the deal in the adjusted gross revenue, based on which government levies various fees on telecom operators.

“Matrix believes that Vodafone has misrepresented facts to the DoT and TDSAT. The business that Matrix engaged in was at all times legal and with the express, written consent of Vodafone,” Matrix said in response to a query.

The DoT has plans to send fresh show cause notices to Vodafone, Airtel and Idea which have sold bulk connections to third parties who in turn were selling those SIM retail subscribers.

The DoT has found Vodafone and Matrix Cellular had entered in to one an agreement, but the telecom operators before tribunal TDSAT contested “that it had no knowledge of the purported activities of ‘Matrix’ so far as giving on rental the SIM cards issued to it is concerned.”

Matrix claimed “all documentary evidence in this regard is available with Matrix”.

The DoT’s monitoring cell in July 2007 found that 10,145 bulk post paid connections were working in name of Matrix Cellular Services Pvt Ltd.

During the course of investigation, the DoT found out that of the 10,145 Bulk connections only 836 mobile numbers were reported by Matrix to it and no information about 9,309 mobile connections was provided.

The DoT had earlier issued demand notice of Rs 50 crore each to the three companies which contested it the TDSAT.

TDSAT in its order on the matter on July 17, 2012 said: “Petitioners may be served again with a show cause notice. They on receipt thereof must file their respective show causes within two weeks from the date of receipt thereof.”

The DoT in its fresh show cause is likely to seek explanation from the three companies as to why it should not initiate action against them to either terminate their licence or impose maximum penalty of Rs 50 crore on each of them in Delhi service area. DoT is also looking at the option of challenging the TDSAT order before the Supreme Court, sources said.

The

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