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DoT plans to contest order

New Delhi, May 10: The department of telecom is considering moving the Supreme Court to try and reverse the TDSAT order allowing 3G roaming pacts between telecom firms. The order has encouraged telecom firms to revive such partnerships.

Top officials said though there were two schools of thought on the issue, the telecom ministry seems to stick to its earlier stand that the pacts violated licence conditions.

Officials said the ministry was consulting its legal advisers on the issue and would file an appeal before the apex court if the lawyers felt the government had a good case.

At the heart of the conflict, say analysts, is money. The government, hard pressed to earn money from telecom auctions, wants to make these pacts permissible on the basis of separate fees, but is yet to come out with rules and terms for this.

Besides, even when it does come up with rules allowing it to charge separate fees, the courts may not allow old pacts to be charged retrospectively.

In December 2011, the government asked three telecom companies to stop their mutual roaming service as the terms of their 3G licences made such pacts illegal. This led to a long legal wrangle between telecom firms and the government. After the TDSAT on April 29 this year over-turned the earlier government ruling and allowed telecom companies to form 3G roaming pacts, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata Tele and R-Com rushed to revive 3G roaming pacts.

 
 
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