DoT asks Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to Stop 3G Services via ICR, Pay Penalty

After Bharti Airtel, now the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to stop offering third generation (3G) services in circles where the both operator does not hold spectrum immediately.

3G Service Roaming Pacts

The DoT has also asked Vodafone and Idea Cellular to pay a penalty of Rs.550 crore and Rs.300 crore respectively for offering 3G services via Intra-Circle roaming pacts beyond permitted zones with in 15 days.

On March 15, the department of telecommunications (DoT) had also sent a similar notice Bharti Airtel to stop offering 3G roaming in areas where it did not have spectrum within 72 hours. Airtel was also asked to pay a penalty of R.350 crore for violating licence conditions by offering 3G services in seven circles where it did not win spectrum during the 2010 auctions.

Airtel got a stay on the DoT’s notice from a single-bench judge in the Delhi High Court on March 18, and yesterday (4th April,2013) High Court vacated the stay and asked to Bharti Airtel to stop 3G services in 7 circles with in 3 days.

Today Bharti Airtel filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking an order in support of continuing 3G services in areas where it does not have spectrum.A Supreme Court bench, headed justice R M Lodha, said that it would hear the matter on Monday, 8th April, 2013.

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea won 3G airwaves in 13, 9 and 11 circles, respectively, in the 2010 auctions of 3G spectrum, and between them have a national footprint. They subsequently entered into ‘intra-circle roaming’ pacts with each other and rode on the airwaves of their partners in circles where they did not hold spectrum themselves.

After BhartiAirtel now it is expected that Vodafone India and Idea cellular will  approach Supreme Court on Monday, 8th April, 2013 on 3G ICR issue.

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