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Cell players up the ante

New Delhi, Oct. 15: The deliberations by group of ministers (GoM) on telecom to resolve the intractable issues relating to limited mobility is in danger of being rendered irrelevant with cellular operators also deciding to appeal in Supreme Court.

Cellular operators today lashed out at the basic telecom operators offering limited mobility services for not accepting the order of Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and approaching the Supreme Court even as the GoM was meeting to resolve the issue.

Cellular operators said ABTO’s decision to approach the Supreme Court is a clear indication of their unwillingness to abide by the TDSAT judgement.

“The cellular industry has patiently held back from appealing the same, while engaging the DoT to enforce the TDSAT judgement, having placed their faith in the GoM for a mutually agreeable resolution. However, after this act of the ABTO, the cellular industry is left with no choice but to brace themselves since the intentions of wireless in local loop (mobile) operators to refuse compliance with the TDSAT order is clearly evident,” a COAI statement said.

“This filing of the ABTO may also have major overtones on the reconciliatory efforts being made by the GoM. In the face of their unwillingness to pay (proposed licence fee for limited mobile service), the cellular industry may be left with no option but to take appropriate legal counteraction to protect its stakeholders and consumers from the continued regulatory discrimination — aimed at making cellular services artificially expensive by comparison,” the release added.

The COAI release also pointed that the pro-litigation approach of ABTO could vitiate any chance of out of court settlement or reconciliation; proves that WiLL(M) prices are linked to regulatory costs, and not march of technology, as was made out to be.

COAI has pointed out that the limited mobile operators have refused to comply with the TDSAT judgement and continue to violate the SDCA limitation.

“They have used compliance with their license as an excuse. Now, the appeal by the ABTO in the Supreme Court makes it clear that they are steadfast in resisting payment of appropriate fees for providing limited mobility as directed by TDSAT. So, in effect, while WiLL(M) operators enjoy the verdict, they are cherry-picking parts of the judgement, which are in their favour, and ignoring it where it suits them,” said the COAI release.

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