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Policy & Regulation
Telecom ministry to stop illegal 3G services by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea
TT Correspondent |  |  17 Aug 2012

Armed with a favourable opinion from the law ministry, the department of telecommunications (DoT) is set to send notices to the telecom service providers, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular asking them to stop providing 3G services in those circles (service areas) where they do not have licences.


These companies are providing 3G services in those areas where they do not have licences under the so called “3G roaming agreements”.


“We will soon send them notices to stop their illegal services,” said a DoT official.


The Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhiok in response to the department of communication (DoT) is believed to have said that the TDSAT’s split verdict on the 3G roaming pacts involving Airtel, Idea and Vodafone cannot be implemented as it does not constitute a judgement in law.


Earlier this week the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had sought fresh legal opinion from law ministry whether it can stop these telcos from offering 3G services beyond their licensed zones through mutual roaming pacts.


DoT also sought clarity on whether it can levy penalty on the telcos for violating licence conditions by offering 3G services. These operators have the permission to offer only 2G services.


Last month the 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 was significant for Bharti Airtel, Vodafone's Indian unit and Idea Cellular which offered 3G services in most parts of the country because of the pacts.


The two member bench comprising TDSAT chairman Justice S.B. Sinha and member P.K. Rastogi had held different views in the case.


Justice Sinha had allowed the telecom operators’ plea against the government’s directive to stop intra circle 3G roaming saying that it was violative of natural justice. Rastogi, however, dismissed telecom operators’ plea saying they cannot provide roaming.

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17 Aug 2012(IST)  
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