In a good news for telecom service providers Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, Telecom tribunal TDSAT today upheld their plea to provide 3G intra-circle roaming services and also quashed the cumulative penalty of Rs. 1,200 crore imposed on these companies by Department of Telecom.
"We are allowing all the petitions," said a TDSAT bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam,a dding that the 3G ICR agreement signed by Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular is in accordance of the licence agreement.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular had taken the matter to TDSAT challenging Department of Telecom order to stop 3G intra-circle roaming agreement under which these companies have decided to acquire customers in area where they did not win spectrum.
Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular won 3G spectrum in 2010 auction. Airtel won 3G spectrum in 13 out of 22 telecom service area for Rs. 12,295.46, Vodafone in 9 for Rs. 11,617.86 and Idea Cellular in 11 circles for Rs. 5,768.59 crore.
A notice was issued to Airtel, Vodafone and Idea by DoT on December 23, 2011 asking these companies to stop 3G ICR within 24 hours and report compliance but the telecom orders decided to challenge the order at TDSAT.
Airtel sought access to Vodafone?s 3G network in four service area - Maharashtra, Kolkata, Haryana and UP East.
Vodafone accessed six 3G circles of Airtel - Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, North East, Rajasthan and U.P. West besides 7 circles of Idea Cellular - Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, UP West and Punjab. Idea is yet to start 3G service in Punjab.
The agreement allowed Idea Cellular to provide 3G service using Vodafone's network in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kolkata.