The Department of Telecom is readying a fresh show-cause notice against Vodafone for its distribution deal with Matrix Cellular in 2007.
According to the DoT, Matrix Cellular took bulk connections from Vodafone and then resold them to individuals with its own tariff plan, billing and without verifying the subscribers.
This is the second show-cause notice issued by the Department on the issue. It had to withdraw the first one after Vodafone India moved the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against the Rs 50-crore penalty imposed by the DoT.
In a 2012 judgment, the Tribunal set aside the penalty saying that the operator was not given a chance to present its case. The Tribunal had told the DoT that the operator may be served with a show-cause notice after a hearing.
The case dates back to 2007 when the monitoring cell of the DoT found that about 10,145 connections in Delhi were working under Matrix Cellular.
“It was found that Matrix Cellular rented out SIM cards from the bulk connections taken from Vodafone, used its own customer application forms, used its own tariff, hidden subscriber details base information from TERM cell Delhi, and not followed the instructions of DoT for subscriber identity verification,” said a DoT official.
Similar show-cause notices may be issued to other operators, including Airtel and Idea, the official said.
When contacted, a Vodafone spokesperson did not comment but industry sources said that the company is likely to challenge the show-cause notice in court.