As a major relief for India’s top telecom operator Bharti Airtel and its 3G subscribers, Delhi High Court has issued an stay order on Department of Telecommunications (DoT) decision asking Airtel to withdraw its 3G services in seven telecom circles where Airtel don’t have valid 3G spectrum license till May 8, that’s next court hearing.
Earlier last week, DoT asked Bharti Airtel to withdraw its 3G services in seven telecom circles sighting 3G roaming agreement with Vodafone and Idea Cellular to provide 3G services in its unlicensed telecom circles. Bharti Airtel has been also slapped with a penalty of total Rs 350 cores or Rs 50 cores for each seven telecom circle where it was providing 3G services without license. DoT has earlier issued directives for telecom operators to stop offering 3G roaming pacts, which enabled operators to offer customers 3G service in area’s where they don’t have proper 3G spectrum license. Bharti Airtel had challenged the DoT order in Delhi High Court and got this temporary verdict.
With the new Court order, Bharti Airtel can still provide 3G services to its customers through roaming agreement with other operators in the unlicensed 3G telecom circle. Court has asked Airtel to keep the fined amount of Rs 350 core in a separate bank account, which DoT can take if it loses the case.