The Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Bharti Airtel in the 3G intra-circle Roaming (ICR) matter and refuse to grant further dates to Airtel on 3G Roaming. However HC gives granted it liberty to pursue the matter further with the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
Earlier Airtel’s petition was premised on the basis that on the date of the filing, TDSAT was not functioning, leaving the company with no “alternative effective remedy. Now TDSAT is “admittedly functional” these days so apex court granted it liberty to pursue the matter further with the TDSAT.
On December 23, 2011, the department of telecommunications (DoT) had sent notices to firms, including Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, asking them to stop their “illegal” 3G roaming pacts with immediate effect.
In August, 2012, The Law Ministry had given its nod to the Department of Telecom (DoT for taking action against telcos that have been offering 3G services in service areas where they were not allotted 3G spectrum via Intra-circle roaming agreements.
In a long-running dispute, the telecom ministry had said such ICR pacts to offer 3G services by Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were illegal and ordered Bharti Airtel to pay a penalty of Rs 350 crore and also asked Airtel to immediately stop 3G services in zones where it does not have its own airwaves and is providing the premium services through pacts with other carriers.
In April ,2013 the Court had passed an order restricting Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular from enrolling any new 3G customers in circles where they did not have the licences to offer 3G services. However, the apex court had allowed the companies to offer 3G services to existing customers through ICR pacts till the final judgment.