Bharti challenges DoT on 3G roaming

2 Oct 2012

Indian cellco Bharti Airtel has resumed its fight with regulators over the right to provide 3G services outside of its licensed circles, reports Business Today. Bharti has mounted a challenge in the Delhi High Court to notices from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) ordering all operators to cease providing 3G roaming services. The provider’s petition to the Delhi High Court argued that the DoT’s decision was not in the interest of customers, adding that the DoT’s action is: ‘arbitrary, has no rational basis, is illogical and contrary to the contract between the parties.’ Further, Bharti claimed that the action taken by the DoT was contrary to instructions from the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) preventing the watchdog from taking any coercive action against the related cellcos.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as no single cellco won pan-India 3G spectrum in the auction in 2010 the operators offer the service outside of their licensed areas via roaming agreements with their rivals. This practice was given the regulatory green light prior to the auction, only for the nation’s telecoms watchdogs to later reverse their decision, calling the practice illegal.