3G roaming deals: TDSAT adjourns hearing till Jan 17

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) adjourned till Jan 17 the case on 3G roaming after the Department of Telecom (DoT) requested for a copy of the confidential agreements signed between operators.

The DoT said being the licensor they should be given a copy of the agreements which have already been submitted to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( TRAI).

Earlier this month, the DoT had challenged TDSAT’s jurisdiction over the matter and stressed that the tribunal cannot entertain the petition which alters the licence conditions.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice (retd) S B Sinha said the hearing on both the issues – whether the copy of the agreements should be disclosed to the DoT and if TDSAT had the jurisdiction to decide on the 3G roaming issue – will be discussed Jan 17.

Last year, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular had entered into roaming agreements to offer 3G services such as video calling, mobile TV and multi-media gaming in areas where they did not have 3G spectrum.

The DoT had, however, asked operators to terminate their 3G roaming agreements and said the roaming agreement among telecom companies for 3G services is illegal and would lead to a significant loss of revenue to the government.

The operators had moved the telecom tribunal challenging the DoT order, saying it would harm customers and the cause of investment in the sector.

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