Life line for India’s top three telecom operators, as Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) made a ruling this week, allowing this operators to offer 3G services via intra-circle roaming. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular has restarted its 3G services in telecom circles where they don’t have 3G spectrum license and was providing 3G services through intra-circle 3G roaming pacts.
Vodafone India being the first mover has started offering 3G services in telecom circles including Karnataka, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and J&K, UP West, Kerala, Bihar/Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Assam & North-East with the intra-circle 3G roaming tie-up with Airtel and Idea Cellular. Vodafone India have only 3G spectrum license in nine telecom circles and with this partnership it can now offer its customers pan-india 3G service.
India’s top telecom operator Bharti Airtel has also restarted its 3G service in eight telecom circles including Haryana, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kolkata and UP (east). through intra-circle 3G roaming tie-up with Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. In-addition Airtel has also introduced new 3G mobile packs in this telecom circles for both Prepaid and Postpaid customers.
Idea Cellular has also resumed its 3G services across ten telecom circles with intra-circle roaming pact with Airtel and Vodafone. Both prepaid and postpaid Idea customers in Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kolkata & West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Assam and North East can now avail 3G services. Idea Cellular already got 3G spectrum license in 11 out of the 22 telecom circles in India.
During December, 2011, DoT issued its first notice to all telecom operators including the Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellualr to immediately stop providing the intra circle 3G roaming services. Operators moved against this on Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) where they got a split verdict. On September 2012, DoT issued second notice to Bharti Airtel to completely stop offering 3G services from circles where it doesn’t have proper license. This was challenged in Delhi High Court and Airtel got a stay order on this. But at last Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal have approved the recommendation from DoT to impose penalty of Rs 350 crore on Airtel, Rs 550 crore on Vodafone India and Rs 300 crore on Idea Cellular.
Now TDSAT has ruled against Department of Telecom (DoT) and allowing this telecom operators to offer 3G services in un-licensed telecom circle via intra-circle roaming agreement.