India’s Telecom Ministry finally asked Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to called off their mutual agreement for 3G roaming and stop 3G Roaming services via ICRA.
The final decision taken by Department of Telecom after the unanimous view of telecom regulator TRAI, Law Ministry and DoT that such roaming agreement was in violation of the telecom licences (3G/UAS/CMTS) and allegations of alleged revenue losses to the exchequer because of these pacts.
If you Remember, Tata Docomo and AIRCEL called off their mutual agreement for Intra circle 3G Roaming services on 14th December as we reported but Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular were continue providing the 3G service via ICRA.
The current licence 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’.
Mr. R Chandrasekhar, Secretary DoT, today said that “The decision has been taken that this (3G roaming pacts) is in violation of terms and conditions of the licence, DoT will be issuing notices asking them (mobile operators) to stop their service with immediate effect. But on penalty, no decision has been taken yet.”