TDSAT gives split verdict on 3G roaming

Telecom tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal [TDSAT] on Tuesday gave a split verdict on validity of mobile phone operators offering 3G services beyond their licence areas through roaming pacts with its chairman concurring with such a practice, while the other member on the bench differed with him.

The split verdict came on a petition filed by mobile phone companies challenging a government order asking them to stop offering 3G services beyond their licensed circles or zones through mutual roaming agreements.

The two-member bench comprising TDSAT chairman Justice S B Sinha and member P K Rastogi differed in theirs findings.

Justice Sinha allowed the telecom operators’ plea against the government’s directive to stop intra circle 3G roaming saying that it was violative of natural justice. But Rastogi dismissed telecom operators plea saying they cannot provide roaming.

The operators would now appeal in higher courts.

The chairman was of view that DoT [Department of Telecom] had not followed the proper procedure and operators were not given proper time to put their views. According to Justice Sinha it was a violation of natural justice. Setting aside the DoT’s order to operators to stop ICR [intra-circle roaming], he asked DoT to start the procedure afresh by giving proper time to operators to respond.

Meanwhile, Rastogi dismissed the appeal of telecom operators saying that they can’t provide 3G services by having mere 2G license.

TDSAT has a sanctioned strength of three people including the Chairman. However, due to retirement of its technical member the tribunal now has two people, which led to the split verdict.

The TDSAT had concluded its marathon hearing on the plea in April.

Sinha allowed the petitions of the telecom operators saying that ‘principle of natural justice was required to be complied’ by DoT while issuing order.

He was of the view that it would 'be reasonable to hold a final decision that DoT would consider the terms and conditions of each ICR agreement separately, so that the terms and conditions contained therein may be analysed and the decisions therefore are rendered thereafter'.

But Rastogi dismissed the petitions of the telecom operators.
Next Story
Share it