Final decision on 3G roaming after meeting operators: DoTNovember 28th, 2011 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) The telecom ministry will soon be meeting the telecom operators on the 3G Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) issue and will thereafter take the final decision, a senior official said Monday.
“Consultation with law (ministry) is complete. We will hold a consultation with telecom players before taking any final decision,” Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekhar told reporters after a meeting of the Telecom Commission.
Leading telecom service provider Airtel, along with Vodafone and Idea Cellular, had entered into a roaming agreement to offer 3G services in the circles where they could not win the 3G spectrum.
However, the telecom regulator and the enforcement cell of the telecom department department say the agreement is illegal.
The operators last week expressed huge discontent and sought the prime minister’s intervention in the ICR issue, saying that the government should refund the 3G license fees if such pacts were not allowed.
The letter, which was signed by Bharti Airtel chairman and group chief executive officer, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group group chief executive Vittorio Colao, also said that the telecom companies were only providing 3G services to roaming customers, which did not amount to spectrum sharing, as was being alleged.
The high priced bidding for 3G auctions, which took place last year fetched the exchequer a little under Rs.70,000 crore and saw top operators coughing billions of rupees with Bharti Airtel paying up Rs.12,295 crore for 13 circles.
While Airtel along with Vodafone won the spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai, other operators such as Idea Cellular through bagged spectrum in 11 circles but could not win spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai.
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