After Bharti Airtel, Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued notice to India’s major telecom operators Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to stop offering 3G intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreements that enabled these operators to offer customers 3G service in telecom circles where they don’t have 3G spectrum license.
In addition to the immediate notice to stop 3G services, DOT has also slapped a penalty of Rs 550 crore on Vodafone India and Rs 300 crore on Idea Cellular where it was providing 3G services without license.
India’s top three telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular have only won 3G spectrum license in 13, 9 and 11 telecom circles respectively, not getting pan-India 3G spectrum license. To over come that these operators came together and signed a intra-circle 3G roaming (ICR) agreements which allowed the operators to offer 3G service in telecom circles where they don’t have 3G spectrum license.
Earlier, Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked Airtel to withdraw its 3G services in seven telecom circles where they don’t have 3G spectrum license and was providing 3G services through intra-circle roaming agreement with its rival other operators, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. Bharti Airtel appealed against this on court and got a temporarily stay order on the government decision. But on April 4th, Delhi High Court lifted the stay order and asked Airtel to stop its 3G service in 7 Telecom Circles.
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel has approached Supreme court to get a stay order on DOT’s notice and allow it to offer 3G service in telecom circles where they don’t have 3G spectrum license. Supreme court will hear the matter on April 8, 2013.