New Delhi, Feb. 17: The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today adjourned by a week the hearing of the case filed by cellular operators against Tata Teleservices and Reliance for offering limited mobility service beyond the licence area.
The petition filed by the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) will now be heard on February 24 along with the case relating to the very issue of limited mobility services itself.
In December, the Supreme Court had heard a case filed by the cellular operators against limited mobility services on the ground that there was no level playing field. The court asked TDSAT to decide on the issue.
However, P. Vaidyanathan, counsel for COAI, resisted the adjournment of the case and wanted the tribunal to restrain Tata Teleservices from offering the service in Delhi.
When the two-member bench comprising D. P. Wadhwa and P. D. Das Gupta suggested that the case may be taken up after March 1, Vaidyanathan wanted to know from the bench why it should be delayed for so long.
The bench asked the COAI counsel whether he had read media reports that a committee had been set up to find a solution to the dispute which had been asked to submit its report on March 1.
The committee comprises Vinod Vaish, secretary in the ministry of communications and information technology, BSNL chairman Prithipal Singh (both representing the government), Mukesh Ambani/Prakash Bajpai and S. Ramakrsihnan representing the Association of Basic Telecom Operators (ABTO), and Sunil Bharti Mittal and Rajeev Chandrashekhar representing the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI).
Meet Malhotra, counsel for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), also sought more time to examine the charge that Tata Teleservices had violated the rules by offering its service beyond the short distance charging area (SDCA).
Limited mobility service providers are required to restrict their services within the SDCA which is usually an area of 50 kilometres.
However, most players have licences for several telecom circles and have used an ingenious way to offer ‘roaming’ facilities to their subscribers. It’s a system called multiple registration: the limited mobility service provider has the software that patches through calls made to his original number to the new one he applies for when he is outside the telecom circle.