India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to meet with leading mobile operators shortly with a view to resolving the contentious issue of 3G roaming pacts. Following a meeting of the Telecom Commission, India’s Economic Times cited telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar as having said: ‘Consultation with the Law (Ministry) is complete. We will hold a consultation with telecom players before taking any final decision.’ The development comes not long after the top executives of three of the country’s larger mobile network operators were reported to have called on the prime minster Manmohan Sign to refund the fees they paid for their respective 3G concessions amid continued debate over the issue of roaming for such services.
The Economic Times report goes on to state that an internal DoT note claims that roaming agreements between the country’s cellcos for 3G services could lead to significant revenue losses for the state. Further, the regulator is also understood to have suggested that there may be a further impact on turnover from spectrum usage charges collected from operators. Sources at the DoT meanwhile are cited as having claimed that the telecoms operators disputing the matter may not benefit from proposals made as part of the in-development National Telecom Policy 2011 regarding the allowing of spectrum sharing. ‘The decision on the 3G roaming issue will be taken as per the current licence agreement and arrangements between the DoT and telecom companies before the 3G spectrum auction last year,’ unnamed DoT officials reportedly said.