3G Roaming blocked by the government
The Department of Telecom under Kapil Sibal has taken the sword against the telecom players on the 3G roaming issue. This is also a bad news for the Indian telecom subscribers. As we know, there were 3G auction happened in last year. An amount of $13 Billion was raised by the auction. No service provider got licenses in every circle. Bharti Airtel, the global leader got licenses in13 circles out of 22 circles. Vodafone Essar also got licenses in 9 circles and Idea Cellular got licenses in 11 circles.
Now government says that it is illegal. If the service provider did not pay the amount for the particular circle, have no right to capture subscribers there. The telecom Companies like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea cellular are protesting in this matter. Government was come on this stand by the instruction of Law Ministry and TRAI. What is roaming? Roaming happens when a customer registered in a particular circle and travels to any other circle. For example Idea Cellular has 3G license in Kerala by paying Rs 312.48 Cr. Idea cellular has no 3G license in the neighboring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. If an Idea customer enjoying 3G services in Kerala and moving to Tamil Nadu, he cannot get the 3G service in the visiting circle. It is really a problem for the customer.
According to government, this will definitely affect the revenues. Government gave notices to the three telecom players to stop 3G roaming. Similar notices were issued to Aircel and Tata Teleservices, they have also done similar agreements. The telecom players like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar is protesting against this action. It is not clear that how many subscribers will be affected by this move, because the data of 3G customers has not been come out. Companies have given a joint letter to the Prime Minister, that if they are not permitted for mutual agreements, they will give the spectrums back. Government will be liable to refund the spectrum amount to them. According to Bharti Airtel, it will definitely affect proliferation of broadband penetration and investment in the particular sector. Vodafone Essar said that the decision was completely unreasonable. Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Essar went to the telecom tribunal friday for challenging DoT order that would harm subscribers. The government move has created uncertainty in the struggling telecom sector.
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