$11.4 M penalty likely on Tata Teleservices

By agencies   |   Friday, 22 July 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The government has asked Tatas why a penalty of $11.4 million should not be slapped on them for illegally offering ‘push-to-talk’ service, which could have led to breach of national security.

The department of telecommunications (DoT) has given a month to Tatas to explain why the penalty should not be levied for violating the ISP licence conditions, under which the company was offering push to talk (PTT) services, which is otherwise a part of voice telephone licence.

A Tata spokesperson said: “We are yet to receive the notice.”

DoT has said the frequency used by Tatas’ ISP licence was originally allotted to the company for unified access service and this led to violation of the licence terms and conditions.

According to one of DoT’s communication to the company, violation of numbering plan in the PTT service was a deliberate attempt to misguide security agencies.

Although Tatas have stopped offering PTT services, the government has sought explanation for violation of licence conditions.

Tata Teleservices had earlier defended the service saying they were offering it under the ISP.

DoT had sought clarifications from the private operator on various issues, including numbering plan followed by Tatas while offering PTT and their compliance to interconnect user charge (IUC), which includes payment of levies like access deficit charge (ADC) for STD calls.

Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) was issued a licence for provision of internet services (including internet telephony) in March 2004 for category a service area all India, the DoT notice said, adding “provisions of PTT service was not permitted under the terms and conditions of this licence.”

Tatas had earlier said PTT is a well accepted technology and a very popular service in the US, Australia, Mexico, South America and Thailand owing to its inherent advantage of group talk and instant connectivity at the push of a button.

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