Government fighting to reopen 3G roaming dispute

1 Aug 2014

The government is attempting to challenge a ruling from the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) which allows 3G providers to offer services outside of their licensed area via roaming agreements with other carriers. The Economic Times quotes telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying: ‘Efforts are being made to challenge the said order in the Supreme Court.’ The TDSAT ruling overturned orders from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to cease the service and quashed penalties dished out by the regulator. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the issue has been ongoing since the 3G licences were first allocated. With only a limited number of concessions available, and concerned that they would be unable to secure pan-India spectrum, prior to the auction of the licences prospective 3G providers asked the regulator to clarify whether or not 3G roaming pacts would be allowed. The watchdog approved such practices, only to perform a U-turn in December 2011 – after the licences had been auctioned off – when it announced that 3G roaming was illegal. The ensuing legal battle was seemingly concluded in April this year, when the TDSAT finally ruled in favour of the operators.