3G roaming agreements between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular have become a matter of concern for the Department of Telecommunications. The department of telecommunications (DoT) is examining whether the government would face any financial implications owing to the 3G roaming agreements between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular.
DoT secretary R Chandrasekhar stated that the government would look at three to four things. One is NIA (notice inviting applications), and the subsequent clarifications, the second is license conditions, for, telecom is a regulated sector, the third is the legal aspect of all these issues and lastly, the financial implication for the government in terms of revenue.
The 3G roaming agreements have been under the scrutiny of DoT and telecom regulator TRAI. Through the roaming agreements, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are offering services in circles where they don’t even hold 3G spectrum. Vodafone has spectrum in only nine circles, but it offers 3G services to its customers in 20 circles. Airtel has 3G in 13 circles, but offers services in 20 circles. As for Idea, the figures are 11 and 19. The country already has 10-15 million 3G customers.
BSNL had also taken strong objection to the 3G roaming agreement, saying that it would make the state-run company’s 3G business case unviable and add to its financial losses.
Report by Anupama