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India court suspends order to ban 3G roaming

Delhi High Court asks Department of Telecommunications to not take any coercive action until next hearing which means operators are allowed to continue providing 3G roaming services.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

An Indian court has temporarily suspended a government order banning telecom operators from providing 3G roaming services outside of their licensed areas.

A Reuters report Wednesday said the ruling came from the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, after operator Bharti Airtel challenged the decision.

The court asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) not to take any "coercive action" until the next hearing but did not set a date, the report said.

According to Indian newspaper Business Standard, the court noted that the earlier stay order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) would remain in force. The July verdict was split and cannot be considered as a judgement, it added.

This means that DoT will have to issue new notices to Bharti Airtel as well as Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to stop 3G roaming service and give them 60 days to respond, said the report. During the period, operators can still provide romaing services. They can approach the TDSAT if they receive new notices.

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

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