Millennium Post

SC to hear plea against TDSAT’s 3G order favouring Voda, Airtel

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Centre’s plea challenging the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT) judgement that allowed 3G intra-circle roaming and issued notices to Airtel, Idea and Vodafone which were allowed to offer 3G services in areas where not all of them own 3G spectrum.  A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar soughta response on the appeal filed by Department of Telecom challenging the Tribunal’s judgement.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had overturned a government ban on offering 3G mobile services beyond their licensed zones through roaming pacts, saying that it was in national interest to allow better utilisation of scarce radio frequency.

The judgement had brought relief to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular which faced a penalty of Rs 1,200 crore for entering into pacts with each other to offer 3G services in regions where they did not win spectrum in the 2010 auction.

Airtel had won 3G spectrum in 13 out of 22 telecom service areas for Rs 12,295.46 crore; Vodafone in 9 for Rs 11,617.86 crore and Idea Cellular in 11 circles for Rs 5,768.59 crore.   The Department of Telecom (DoT) had issued notices to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea on December 23, 2011 asking them
 to stop 3G ICR within 24 hours but the order was challenged by them. 
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