India’s Supreme Court has declined to stay a ruling by the Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) permitting the employment of 3G roaming pacts, Live Mint writes. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is looking to block a TDSAT ruling from April this year which overturned the DoT’s ban on 3G roaming and quashed fines levied by the regulator on Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India for offering 3G services outside of their licensed areas through agreements with other cellcos. Whilst awaiting a full decision on the case, the DoT had also sought a stay on the TDSAT decision, which would prevent operators from making use of 3G roaming whilst the matter is settled.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the matter has been back and forth through India’s byzantine court and regulatory systems since the end of 2011. Prior to the sale of the 3G concessions, the regulator had told prospective bidders that they would be allowed to offer services in circles where they did not hold concessions via agreements with other cellcos. In December 2011 however, the DoT reneged on its promise and banned the practice and issued fines totalling around INR12 billion (USD189.4 million).