Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Bharti Airtel had sent a joint letter to communications minister, Kapil Sibal regarding TRAI’s decision over termination of 3G roaming agreements. According to Moneylife, these operators have again sent a joint letter to the Prime Minister clearly stating that this is a breach of contract and government should refund the spectrum action payments with interest. Earlier, TRAI had put across the implications of 3G roaming by terming it illegal and stated that operators should terminate such agreements. 3G users of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular use each other’s 3G services, while on roaming. So, eventually a customer cannot use 3G services in a state that its operator doesn’t possess 3G permit.
According to a report by Economic Times, a telecom ministry official says that the controversy over the 3G roaming deals will be resolved with the new policy, which will be implemented by early next year. The policy is set to introduce a pan-India mobile permit, which will negate region specific permits.
Telcos seek PM intervenention
In a joint letter by Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, Kumar Mangalam Birla of Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group CEO, Vittorio Colao, said, “...in the event that 3G Intra-Circle Roaming (ICR) is now deemed impermissible, then, it would be a clear breach of our contract and the pre-auction confirmation given by the government.”
After the auction last year, these operators had acquired specific circles. However, later they entered the roaming pact for the circles, they weren’t permitted to offer 3G. Apart from Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea, Tata and Aircel have entered agreements for certain circles.