09:50 am - Sunday 26 October 2014

DoT seeks fresh legal opinion on 3G Roaming Pacts

By Sonali Shyam - Sat Aug 18, 12:06 am

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought fresh legal opinion on the 3G roaming pact of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, from Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok as the operators have the licence to offer only 2G services.

DoT wanted transparency and opinion on whether it can stop operators from offering 3G services beyond their licensed areas also whether it can levy penalty on the operators for violating license condition by offering 3G services.

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had given a split verdict in the 3G intra circle roaming case in which the operators had challenged government’s directive to stop offering 3G services beyond their licensed zones through mutual roaming pacts.

The decision is very important as Bharti Airtel , Vodafone and Idea have entered into 3G intra-circle roaming pact and they are offering services in those circles where they do not have 3G spectrum.

 The two member bench of TDSAT, chairman Justice S.B. Sinha and member P.K. Rastogi gave a split verdict on the matter.

 Chairman Justice S B Sinha has ordered DoT to review the procedure against the directive to stop intra circle 3G roaming and give time to the operators to present their views.

On the other hand, member Rastogi dismissed telecom operators’ plea saying that  the operators could not provide roaming services as they were not allowed to provide 3G services with 2G licences

In December 2011, DoT had ruled such pacts illegal and asked the operators to stop offering 3G services beyond their licensed circles through 3G roaming pact.  the government had come in for sharp criticism by leading telcos, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone-for nullifying 3G roaming pacts. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a notice to these telcos declaring the 3G roaming pacts as illegal.

 

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