India’s regulator has hauled SingTel in for violation of the country’s telecom licensing norms, while Bharti Airtel and Tata Communications, which provide international private lease circuits to SingTel, have been cleared of wrongdoing.
According to the Hindu Business Line, India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) had found SingTel, which it classifies as a foreign firm, guilty of acquiring and billing customers in India for international long distance services without a proper license, between 2005 and 2009.
SingTel may have to pay a penalty as a result of the DoT’s ruling.
Bharti and Tata Communications, both of which have international long distance services agreements with SingTel, were cleared of any misconduct. The DoT said in an internal memo that both Indian firms had acted in accordance with licensing norms, where Indian operators are allowed to lease their networks out to foreign carriers. Both Indian firms had also paid relevant license fees on revenue earned from their contracts with SingTel.
The DoT had formed a committee to examine the issue in January, where both Bharti and Tata Communications, which was then operating under the VSNL name, faced the prospect of having to end their respective agreements with SingTel.
Tata Communications told the Hindu Business Line that there was lack of evidence showing SingTel had acquired customers within India. The Indian carrier added its agreement with SingTel stated the latter could not acquire customers within India, and it had not seen the need to check if SingTel kept to the contract before.
Tata Communications further said it now takes steps to ensure foreign carriers are neither acquiring nor billing customers within the country.
According to the Press Trust of India, the DoT plans to penalize other foreign carriers such as AT&T, BT, France Telecom and Verizon for offering services in the country without first obtaining a valid license.