Wednesday, 28 September 2011

3G follows 2G to court; Govt. response sought

By : Hary M. Pillai

The Delhi High Court today asked ASG AS Chandioke to present before the court the government's stand in connection with the allegation that major telecom operators - like Airtel, Idea, Vodafone - are misusing 3G spectrum in violation of the existing license conditions and that the inaction of the government to check this violation has resulted in causing a huge loss to the extent of Rs.20,000 crore to the exchequer as well as posing a threat to national security.

The petitioner advocate Yakesh Anand has alleged in his petition that, "the various private operators have entered into agreements among themselves for using each other's network and spectrum and provide 3G services, even in those areas and circles in India, where they neither have the license nor any 3G spectrum, thus entering into 3G area of operation through the back-door.


Anand has also alleged that the DoT, TRAI and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Finance (MoF) were aware of the violations but failedto check the same which has resulted in huge losses to the exchequer as wellas a security risk for the nation.

Petitioner has argued that the provision of 3G services through Intra Circle Roaming Arrangement in respectof 3G services is a violation of 3G license condition No. 23.7 which does not permit the licensees to share their 3G spectrum with non-licensed operators.

He also contended in his petition that,"this has resulted in the non-licensed 2G operators being not subjected to any roll out obligations causing a non-level playing field for those who have won 3G spectrum in auction, paidthe huge amount of spectrum fee, got their licences amended for 3G and are subjected to strict roll out obligations to provide services in rural areas also, while the non-licenced operators can concentrate in lucrative urban markets for 3G services".

The petitioner today was seeking fromthe court directions to the DoT and TRAI to take steps to stop this alleged misuse of 3G services and spectrum by non-licensed operators and also directions to the CVC and or CBI to investigate this whole issue of provision of 3G services by Airtel, Idea and Vodafone and the alleged connivance/ actions and inactions on the part of some officials of the DoT and TRAI as well as the MHA and MoF.

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjeev Khanna has listed the matter for further hearing on November 30.

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