TDSAT provides relief to telecom operators till Jan 3

December 24th, 2011 - 6:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) Saturday asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) not to take any “coercive” action in enforcing a ban on 3G roaming against three service providers till Jan 3 when it would hear the case again.

TDSAT also asked the operators to submit the roaming pact they had signed among themselves for its examination.

Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone had moved the telecom tribunal Friday evening challenging the DoT order, saying it would harm customers and the cause of investment in the sector.

The DoT had asked the mobile phone companies to terminate their 3G roaming agreement by 3 pm Saturday. According to the DoT, the roaming agreement among telecom companies for 3G services is illegal and would lead to a significant loss of revenue to the government.

Earlier, telecom regulator TRAI and the enforcement cell of the telecom department had termed the agreement illegal.

The service providers had entered into a roaming agreement to offer 3G services such as video calling, mobile TV and multi-media gaming in telecom circles where they could not win 3G spectrum auctioned last year.

The operators had cited the DoT move as arbitrary, unreasonable and retrograde.

“We are shocked at the arbitrary decision taken by the DoT to issue instructions to stop intra circle roaming (ICR) for 3G services among the telecom operators,” Bharti Airtel had said in a statement Friday evening.

Vodafone had called the DoT decision unreasonable. “The 3G roaming agreements that Vodafone has entered into with other operators are in complete compliance with all government rules and regulations and this issue was specifically clarified by DoT before the 3G auction was held.”

“Based on this clarification, we went into the auction in good faith. Now, to completely reverse the stand, is totally irrational. It is going to affect millions of our customers adversely and we think it is a retrograde step by DoT.”

Idea Cellular had expressed dismay at the government’s decision which it said would adversely impact investor sentiment.

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