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Bharti Airtel challenges 3G roaming ruling

Indian telco petitions the Delhi High Court to overturn the Department of Telecommunications' directive for operators to stop 3G roaming services outside their license area.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Bharti Airtel has submitted a petition to the Delhi High Court challenging the Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) decision to end 3G roaming services outside operators' licensed areas, saying it adversely affects the interest of the customers.

The Times of India reported Monday that local operators had previously entered into 3G roaming agreements to offer services such as video calling, mobile TV and multimedia gaming amongst themselves so that 3G coverage can be extended beyond each operator's license area.

However, the DoT last December issued a statement saying such 3G roaming pacts were illegal and must be terminated immediately. It also said the government was losing revenue because of these agreements.

Responding to this directive, Bharti Airtel, in its petition on Monday, said the directive "adversely affects the interest of the customers and the subscribers who are benefiting from the 3G arrangements".

It added: "The impugned decision of the DoT [violates] Article 14 as it is arbitrary, has no rational basis, is illogical and contrary to the contract between the parties."

Bharti Airtel, together with Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular, had also responded to the directive by writing in to India's prime minister to demand a refund of their spectrum auction payment if such a regulation was to proceed.

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