DoT directs Vodafone and Idea to stop 3G roaming services within 3 days
By insightVAS - Mon Apr 08, 1:31 pm
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Airtel is directed to stop the facility within 24 hours
After Delhi High Court lifted the stay order on Airtel’s 3G pact, Vodafone and Idea have been asked by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to stop 3G services where the telcos do not have licenses, within three days. Airtel has been asked to stop services within 24 hours.
The High court vacated its stay order which prevented government from executing its order asking these companies to stop 3G services.
Vodafone and Idea have to pay a penalty of Rs 550 crore and Rs 300 crore respectively. The government in 2011 had declared 3G roaming pacts as illegal. The Supreme Court will hear Bharti Airtel’s plea on the issue on April 8. The apex court has rejected its plea for immediate hearing.
The High Court vacated the stay order services on Reliance Communication’s (RCom) plea which cited the adverse impact on its business due to Airtel’s 3G roaming services.
Interestingly, RCom was part of the group of five telecom companies which appealed to the government to allow 3G roaming hoping for favourable decision from the government. But later it opposed High Court’s stay order on Airtel’s plea.
RCom in its plea had said that it has paid thousands of crores for the 3G spectrum and Bharti is using it for free in as many as seven circles, therefore, disrupting the level playing field.
“If this is allowed, then there is no requirement for any licensee to participate and purchase 3G spectrum in auction. This defeats the purpose of auction.” Hence, by riding on airwaves of Vodafone and Idea, Bharti Airtel was eating into RCom’s business” it said.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea which entered into agreement with each other for offering 3G services by using each other’s airwaves, had won licenses for 13, 9 and 11 circles, respectively in 2010. These three GSM operators then entered into agreement with each other for offering 3G services by using each other’s airwaves.
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