Telecom operators may get relief of Rs 2,500 crore or over 80 per cent in penalties imposed on them by the Department of Telecommunications in cases related to inadequate subscriber verification.

“So far about 2.7 crore subscriber forms have been verified by TERM cells and penalty of about Rs 3,000 crore imposed. This penalty is being recalculated after the TDSAT judgement. Now, the actual penalty amount may be around Rs 500 crore,” a DoT source said.

Subscriber verification is done by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell of DoT every month with a sample size of 0.1 per cent of customers acquired by operator.

The telecom industry has been requesting DoT to rework the method used for penalty calculation instead of imposing — by default — the highest amount of penalty allowed as per licence agreement.

In case of wrong subscriber verification, penalty of Rs 1,000 is imposed by DoT on the operator for every unverified subscriber if 95 per cent of the sample collected is accurate.

In case accuracy of subscriber verification is between 90 to 95 per cent, then Rs 5,000 penalty per wrongly verified customer is imposed. This gradually increases to Rs 50,000 per customer if sample has less than 80 per cent accuracy.

The source did not share details of the telecom tribunal TDSAT’s order which led the department to recalculate the penalty.

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