Indian regulator the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has once again issued show cause notices to Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Aircel, instructing them to cease offering 3G roaming services, Telecom Tiger reports. The DoT has ordered the cellcos to each pay INR500 million (USD9 million) per circle in which they were offering 3G services through agreements with other operators.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, India’s 3G operators have been involved in a long-standing dispute with regulators over rights to offer 3G services in areas that they do not hold spectrum rights via roaming agreements. The practice was given the regulatory green light prior to the 3G spectrum auction, only for the nation’s telecoms watchdogs to later reverse their decision, calling the practice illegal. Regulators sought to shut down the practice earlier this year, though an appeal to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) resulted in a split decision, allowing the continuation of the status quo, but permitting further action by the DoT.