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India issues fresh show cause notices over 3G roaming pacts

These notices from country's telecoms department will give operators 60 days to explain why they should be allowed to keep their permits, for allegedly illegally offering 3G roaming outside their licensed areas.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

India's department of telecommunications (DoT) will issue new show cause notices to telcos to justify keeping their permits, based on its allegation that the 3G roaming agreements among these operators are illegal.

A report by the Economic Times Monday said these new notices will not ask that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone's local unit and Idea Cellular stop offering 3G services, but explain within 60 days why their permits should not be cancelled.

This comes barely a month since DoT issued more demanding notices ordering operators to immediately stop offering 3G roaming services outside their licensed areas. Bharti Airtel quickly challenged the move and submitted a petition to the Delhi High Court, saying the decision, if enforced, will affect customers.

The court temporarily suspended those earlier set of orders by the regulator, asking DoT to not take any coercive action until the next hearing, allowing 3G roaming services to continue.

In July 2011, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular signed agreements allowing their customers to use 3G services in areas where at least one of the telcos had bandwidth, according to the Wall Street Journal.

DoT first said in December last year that these roaming pacts were illegal.

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