DoT to seek legal opinion on 3G

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 28 2011, 06:34am hrs
The department of telecommunications (DoT) will soon seek legal opinion on whether a telecom operator may provide 3G services in circles where it doesnt possess any 3G spectrum.

DoT secretary R Chandrashekhar said on Tuesday, We are looking into the licence conditions and are going to seek legal opinion on this.

The move comes after private telecom operators wrote to the department of telecom,saying that entering into roaming pacts to provide 3G services to existing 2G users in circles where the operator had not won any 3G spectrum was well within the licence conditions.

At the heart of the issue is whether an operator who hasnt won 3G spectrum in a particular circle and not paid any money for it, should be allowed to provide the 3G services in that circle by entering into pacts with their rivals. Through such pacts, an existing mobile phone subscriber of an operator with no 3G spectrum in a particular circle is provided the services through the network of an operator who has actually won the spectrum.

The TERM cell of DoT had written to private operators saying that it had come to its notice that telecom operators without spectrum and licence amended for the provision of 3G services had entered into inter-circle and intra-circle roaming arrangements not permitted in the licence.

While private operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular have written to the the DoT emphasising that getting into such roaming agreements was well within the licence conditions, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has asked for bilateral agreements between all private operators for providing 3G services in circles where they dont have the 3G spectrum.

On the issue of rejection of the licence application of the Qualcomm Inc which won broadband wireless access spectrum in four circles, Chandrashekhar said that the DoT hadn't yet received any response from the company.