Idea Cellular takes DoT to court on 2G spectrum clauses

Telecom Lead Asia: Idea Cellular wants DoT to remove 2G spectrum clauses that bar the mobile service provider from entering into roaming agreements with other operators on the 3G network.

Challenging DoT’s move to introduce a new clause in the letters of intent (LoI) for seven circles where it bagged 2G licenses, the Aditya Birla group company approached the Delhi High Court on Thursday.

If the department of telecommunications adds the new clause in LoI, it will prohibit Idea Cellular from 3G roaming pacts with other operators.

READ: In December 2012, DoT asked Vodafone and Idea Cellular to pay a penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle for offering 3G services through roaming pacts. The telecom ministry is yet to solve the existing 3G roaming pact among Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel.

Economic Times reported that DoT had introduced a rule, under paragraph 6 of the letters of intent, which specified that under the unified license, using 3G spectrum of another operator was not permitted.

LoIs were given out to telecom service providers that had secured spectrum in the 1800 MHz band in the government auctions held November last.

Though the telecom ministry said that 3G roaming was illegal, mobile phone companies that had won 3G spectrum refuted the claim, saying that the government had declared in open forums before the 2010 auction that roaming would be allowed. DoT in December 2011 warned mobile phone companies that offering 3G services through roaming pacts outside the licensed zones was illegal and could lead to license cancellation.

[email protected]