You are here: Home » Economy & Policy » News
Business Standard

DoT asks Bharti, Vodafone, Idea to stop 3G roaming

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Telecom Ministry today issued notices to three leading telecom firms -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea -- asking them to stop their 3G roaming agreements with immediate effect as the pacts are illegal and has sought their response within 24 hours.

"The Department of Telecommunications [DoT] today issued notices to three operators who are having 3G roaming arrangements among themselves without having 3G spectrum in that circles. The DoT has also asked operators to reply till 3 pm tomorrow whether they have stopped offering services or not," a source close to the development said.

Yesterday, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal had ruled that such roaming agreements are in violation of licence norms and the operators cannot be allowed to offer services like this.

The decision comes after the unanimous view of telecom regulator Trai, Law Ministry and DoT that such roaming agreement was in violation of the telecom licences.

Leading operators like Bharti, Vodafone and Idea had entered into agreement with one another to offer 3G mobile services in circles in which they could not succeed in getting spectrum in the auction held last year.

Similar notices have also been issued to Tata Teleservices and Aircel, which had also entered into similar agreements to offer services in six circles. However, the two operators have already discontinued the arrangement.

The DoT had sought a legal opinion on this matter and the Law Ministry had supported the DoT's view.

In an internal note, the DoT had said the roaming agreement among telecom companies for 3G services would lead to a significant loss of revenue to the government.

There may also be an impact on revenues from spectrum usage charges collected from operators, the note added.

Even the sector regulator Trai had termed the existing agreement among operators for offering pan-India 3G services, despite not having spectrum in all the circles, as violation of licence norms, a charge rejected by the industry.

The chiefs of three leading telecom firms -- Bharti, Idea and Vodafone -- had then sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in the dispute over the 3G roaming pact, failing which they said they would surrender spectrum.

The Prime Minister had assured the industry that the government will look into their concerns and formulate forward-looking policies to sustain growth in the sector.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, December 23 2011. 18:50 IST