The telecom operators and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seem to be at loggerheads on the issue of the tribunal TDSAT’s jurisdiction on the contentious 3G roaming pacts.
In an affidavit filed with the tribunal the operators were dismayed at government’s move to question the jurisdiction of TDSAT on the issue. They called it a desperate attempt to avoid adjudication of the present dispute. The operators also questioned DoT’s contention that operators need to have separate licence for 3G.
Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had challenged the tribunal TDSAT’s jurisdiction in hearing the case related to 3G roaming services.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular got breather on January 3 after Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal TDSAT) has deferred the hearing on their plea against govt decision to scrap 3G roaming till January 9.
“The DoT as a licensor should be aware that there is no 2G or 3G licenceand the licence is common under UASL. This basic and fundamental error of perception colours the entire prospective and action of DoT,” said the operators.
The government is of the view that operators have violated certain terms and conditions of Cellular Mobile Telecom Service License and various terms and conditions of the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) dated 25.02.2010 for 3G/BWA Auction by forging 3G pacts between themselves.
The major telcos like Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, Tata and Idea on January 28 had moved the tribunal TDSAT challenging the DoT’s decision which called the 3G roaming pacts illegal.
The operators had reacted sharply saying the decision to scrap the 3G pacts was arbitrary and illogical. While TDSAT stayed the DoT’s decision, it deferred the hearing for January 3.
DoT in its affidavit to the tribunal took strong exception to telco’s criticism on the issue saying that they had suppressed certain facts and material documents regarding agreements while presenting its case before TDSAT. “They have not with clean hands”, the affidavit said.
“Inspite of the directions by this Tribunal vide order dated December 24, 2011, the petitioners (operators) have not submitted the intra-circle roaming agreements entered into with various telecom service providers. The present petition is liable to be dismissed on this ground alone", the affidavit further said.