Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has now decided to move the Supreme Court against 3G intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreement between operators.
DoT had earlier banned 3G intra-circle roaming, saying they enabled the companies to offer 3G services without buying spectrum.
Tribunal Settlement and Appellate Tribunal(TDSAT) however, on April 29 this year overturned the DoT’s ban and had issued orders that permitted telecom operators to offer 3G services even in the circles where they haven’t acquired spectrum. According to tribunal, the DoT prohibition on intra-circle roaming between the operators on 3G network would leave the network unutilized. Intra-circle roaming, it further stated, would result in much fuller and better utilization of 3G spectrum.
COAI chairman and Vodafone India managing director and chief executive had recently termed DoT’s move as unfortunate and said it would lead to more doubts about the fate of the industry (as said to ET).
In 2010 Indian government auctioned spectrum on 2100MHz band for launching GSM-3G services. The auction was too fierce that not a single company could not get pan India 3G coverage. Soon Airtel, Vodafone and Idea entered into an agreement to offer 3G services even in those circles where they don't have spectrum.
Now if DOT manages to STOP 3G services via ICRA it means big trouble for operators and end users. Who do you think is more responsible for customers' sufferings due to 3G ICRA Mess?