DoT can ask mobile cos to end 3G roaming pacts
The Law Ministry has opined that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) can ask mobile phone service providers to stop their present 3G roaming pacts.
Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhiok in the opinion stated that the split verdict of sectoral tribunal TDSAT on the 3G roaming pacts does not constitute a judgemnt in law as the same cannot be implemented, official sources said.
Accordingly, sources added, ASG is of the view that a communication can be sent to the companies for seeking their compliance of the December, 2011 order seeking termination of 3G roaming pacts.
On July 3, 2012, the TDSAT gave a split verdict on validity of mobile phone operators offering 3G services beyond their licence areas through roaming pacts. The two-member bench comprising TDSAT Chairman Justice S B Sinha and Member P K Rastogi had differed in their findings.
The TDSAT's judgement came over a bunch of petitions filed by -- Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tata Tele -- challenging DoT's December 23, 2011 directive to scrap their Intra-Circle Roaming pacts within 24 hours.
According to sources, ASG has opined that the DoT can take any further action as per law which it wishes to, including termination of licences and claim the amounts earned by companies by providing 3G services for which they did not have any permission or licence from the DoT.
However, the DoT will take further clarification on the matter as ASG has opined that the department can not impose penalty clause of up to Rs 50 crore on telecom companies.
"ASG has opined for termination of licence as per condition 10.2 (i) of licence agreement and has opined that clause 10.2 (ii) (financial penalty norm) cannot be invoked.
He has not mentioned any specific reason because of which clause 10.2 (ii) can not be invoked," sources said.
The sources added that the DoT may seek clarity on the penalty point from the ASG again before issuing show cause notices on the same.