DoT orders Airtel to stop 3G services in seven circles, slaps Rs350 crore fine

The Department of Telecom (DoT) ordered Bharti to stop providing 3G services in Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat and four other regions cracking the whip on companies offering 3G services in circles where they did not have permits.

The DoT also slapped a fine of Rs50 crore per circle, translating into a total fine of Rs350 crore for Bharti for the same. The government is likely to levy similar bans and penalties on Vodafone India (Vodafone) and Idea Cellular (Idea) too.

At the current juncture, Airtel has moved the Delhi High Court against the DoT directive and managed to obtain a stay on the issue. However, any adverse development on the issue may negatively impact Bharti as the company would not be able to offer 3G services in those areas, though the financial impact of Rs350 crore penalty remains minimal.