DoT asks Telcos to Stop 3G roaming in 7 circles. A legal wrangle has started between the department of telecommunications (DoT) and the country’s top three mobile operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular — over intra-circle 3G roaming.
With an aim to further cement its stance on the issue, the DoT has issued a fresh order to Bharti Airtel in order to stop intra-circle 3G roaming in seven circles where it did not have the spectrum and also levied a penalty of Rs 350 crore (Rs 50 crore per circle) on the company for violating the licence terms and conditions. The company has been asked to stop the services within three days.
As a result, the company has moved the Delhi High Court to seek a stay order from the DoT’s directive.
This order was issued to Bharti Airtel after it submitted its stand on the subject to a DoT-constituted committee on the matter as per the direction of the Delhi High Court in October 2012. Sources close to the development opine that similar orders are expected to be issued to Vodafone and Idea shortly once their personal hearing before the committee is over.
Industry sources said that the legal case for seeking a stay order is strong since Idea Cellular has received a stay order from the Delhi HC only last week in a related matter. Idea, which had got fresh licences in seven circles after winning spectrum in November 2012, had moved the court against the DoT’s move of putting a clause in the licence conditions that it cannot provide 3G intra-circle roaming in these circles. The court has stayed this action of DoT’s till further hearing.