Airtel, Idea, Vodafone asked to stop 3G roaming serviceDecember 23rd, 2011 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) The department of telecom (DOT) Friday asked three operators — Airtel, Ideal Cellular and Vodafone — to terminate their 3G roaming agreements by Saturday.
The service providers had entered into a roaming agreement to offer 3G services in the circles where they could not win 3G spectrum last year.
The telecom regulator and the enforcement cell of the telecom department had earlier termed the agreement illegal. The DoT has now issued notices to the companies asking them to stop the 3G roaming effective from Saturday.
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.
In response, Airtel called the DOT move arbitrary and said it would take appropriate recourse to protect its rights.
“We are shocked at the arbitrary decision taken by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to issue instructions to stop intra circle roaming (ICR) for 3G services among the telecom operators,” Bharti Airtel said in a statement.
“Bharti Airtel will take appropriate recourse to protect its rights.”
Last month the operators had sought the prime minister’s intervention in the issue and had said the government should refund the 3G license fees if such pacts were not allowed.
Airtel said the DoT action was delayed till Friday evening fully knowing that any legal recourse needed court working days.
“To add to our and customer’s dismay compliance is being forced within 24 hours without stating why this haste. We are sure it is well understood by all industry stakeholders that to unwind a strategic deployment like ICR (intra-circle roaming), expert intervention is required as multiple aspects of CRM, network and IT are at play.”
“More importantly customers have to be informed and their financial commitment towards the service has to be protected, as per the regulation.”
Airtel also said the move would adversely impact the proliferation of broadband penetration and investor sentiments.
Last year’s high priced bidding for 3G auctions fetched the exchequer a little under Rs.70,000 crore. Bharti Airtel, Idea and Vodaphone had won spectrum in 13, 11 and 9 circles respectively.
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Tags: 3g license, 3g services, arbitrary decision, bharti airtel, dismay, dot move, expert intervention, financial commitment, friday evening, haste, icr, industry stakeholders, legal recourse, pacts, roaming service, telecom companies, telecom department, telecom operators, telecom regulator, vodafone