MUMBAI The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Friday recommended the country's top three network operators be fined a combined 30.5 billion rupees ($456 million) after it found they were denying new entrant Reliance Jio sufficient interconnection points.Jio, part of India's richest man Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd, began offering 4G services in September, triggering a war over network points that connect Jio customers with Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Plc's India subsidiary and Idea Cellular Ltd.Responding to Jio's complaints over the denial of points of interconnection (POI), TRAI recommended a fine of 500 million rupees per telecom zone for each of the three operators.Airtel and Vodafone India were fined for 21 zones each while Idea was fined for 19 zones in a country with a total of 22 telecoms zones or circles.
The denial of POI to Jio "appears to be with ulterior motive to stifle competition and is anti-consumer", TRAI said in a statement.
Reliance Jio did not respond to an email seeking comment while Airtel, Vodafone and Idea declined comment.($1 = 66.9126 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Promit Mukherjee; editing by David Clarke)
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Updated Date: Oct 21, 2016 21:04 PM