The Supreme Court of India has decided to hear Centre’s appeal against the TDSAT’s judgement, which has allowed 3G intra-circle roaming and has given notices to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea which were allowed to provide 3G services even in the areas where they do not hold spectrum.
The case will be presented before the bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, who has sought a response to the appeal filed by DoT challenging the Tribunal’s judgement. TDSAT has earlier reversed the ban put by the government on offering 3G services outside their licenced zones through roaming pacts. The Tribunal was of the view that this would enable better utilisation of limited airwaves.
This judgement gave relief to the telcos, who faced the penalty of Rs 1,200 crore for coming into the pact with each other in order to offer 3G services in the regions apart from their licenced circles. In the last spectrum auction, Airtel had won 3G spectrum in 13 out of 22 telecom circles for Rs 12,295.46 crore; whereas, Vodafone won airwaves for 9 circles for Rs 11,617.86 crore and Idea Cellular for 11 circles for Rs 5,768.59 crore.
The Department of Telecom has given notices to the three operators on 23 December, 2011asking them to stop this 3G roaming pact.