Decision on 3G roaming pact as per current policy: Telecom Min
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Decision on 3G roaming pact as per current policy: Telecom Min

Last Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 21:37
 
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Decision on 3G roaming pact as per current policy: Telecom Min
New Delhi: A decision on the "illegal" 3G roaming pact between telecom firms will be taken within a week as per the existing policy, sources in the Telecom Ministry said Thursday.
     
According to sources in the DoT, the telecom firms will not get the advantage of proposed provisions in the National Telecom Policy-2011 that may allow sharing of spectrum among operators as they entered into an agreement for sharing spectrum before implementation of the policy.
     
"The decision on the 3G roaming issue will be taken as per the current licence agreement and arrangements between Department of Telecom (DoT) and telecom companies before the 3G spectrum auction last year," a senior DoT official said.
     
"The examination related to the 3G issue is almost completed. We will be able to come out with something in a week or so," he added.
     
The issue pertains to the pact among major service providers, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular, for providing a 3G roaming network on a pan-India basis.
     
Other service providers, like Tata Teleservices and Aircel, had entered into a similar agreement to offer services in six circles.
     
Recently, the CEOs of three leading telecom firms -- Bharti, Idea and Vodafone -- had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention to resolve the dispute over the 3G roaming pact, failing which they threatened to surrender spectrum.
     
The letter was jointly written by Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal, Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group Plc CEO Vittorio Colao.
     
Meanwhile, on the recommendations of Trai relating to spectrum sharing and other issues, the official said the DoT would take a call by the end of next month.
     
The 3G roaming agreement among the players did not go down well with the DoT, which felt these alliances were in violation of the terms and conditions of the 3G spectrum agreements that it signed with operators in June last year following the auction.
     
The Telecom Ministry and sectoral regulator Trai have termed the roaming pact among these players as illegal, saying this was tantamount to spectrum sharing, which is not allowed as per the existing policy.
     
In the auction for 3G spectrum last year, which had fetched over Rs 68,000 crore for the government, the operators had won certain circles. Later, they entered into roaming pacts with each other for circles which they did not win.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 24, 2011, 21:37


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