After show cause notice to stop 3G Roaming in non-3G circles via ICRA by Department of Telecommunications (DoT), India’s largest mobile service provider Bharti Airtel moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the DoT’s order.
Prior the DoT has directed to Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to stop 3G services in non- 3G circles or outside their 3G licensed areas through the mutual Intra Circle Roaming Agreements.
The dispute occurred as the current 2G license terms and conditions allow operators to go in for Roaming agreements to enable their subscribers to get seamless mobile network coverage as they move from one circle to other circle in India wherein they doesn’t have any network/spectrum or services.
But in 3G services, all private operators are selling their 3G products and new connections even in circles where they do not have 3G spectrum/licence. Operators having 3G spectrum pay higher revenue share in the form of ‘ 3G spectrum usage fee’.
While Bharti Airtel said “Airtel confirms that 3G ICR arrangements are in compliance with the clarifications of the DoT at the time of the auction of the 3G spectrum, all applicable laws and licensing conditions and are hugely beneficial to customers and grave inconvenience will be caused to customers if it is disallowed”
In its petition in the Delhi High Court, Bharti Airtel also said “the show-cause notice ‘adversely affects the interest of the customers and the subscribers who are benefiting from the 3G arrangements’ and added that the DoT decision was ‘violated Article 14 (equality before law) as it was arbitrary, has no rational basis, was illogical and contrary to the contract between the parties”.