Airtel Announces Resumption of 3G Services in 8 Circles

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After telecom tribunal TDSAT upheld it’s plea to provide 3G intra-circle roaming services, Airtel on Sunday announced the resumption of its 3G services in eight circles.

In a statement, the service provider said 3G roaming services would now be available in Haryana, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, MPCG (Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh), Gujarat, Kolkata and UP (east) from Monday.

Prepaid customers in Kolkata can start enjoying 3G roaming right away on Airtel by selecting from 5 packs while postpaid customers will be able to avail the 3G roaming services soon.

Last week, a TDSAT bench in Delhi had said that 3G ICR (intra-circle roaming) agreement signed by Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular is not violative of licence agreement.

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular had approached TDSAT against Department of Telecom order to stop 3G intra-circle roaming agreement under which they had also agreed to acquire customers in area where they did not win spectrum.

The cost of purchasing 3G airwaves in a 2010 auction was so high that no single carrier won a nationwide permit. Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone and Idea Cellular Ltd, currently the country’s top three carriers, entered into pacts with each other to provide 3G services beyond their licensed zones.

India’s telecoms carriers began launching 3G in 2011 and the premium services currently account for about 4 percent of their revenue.

The telecoms ministry will make a decision on whether to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court after analysing the tribunal’s order, Maneesha Dhir, a lawyer for the government, told Reuters.

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