In more trouble for private telecom players, BSNL on Tuesday accused them of acquiring 3G subscribers by entering into "illegal" inter-circle roaming agreements in circles without having designated spectrum.
In an application filed before TDSAT, state-run BSNL has alleged that operators Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Tatas and Aircel are providing 3G services by "misrepresenting" the public on the "strength of illegal arrangements /agreements" entered by them.
"In some telecom service areas, without paying for 3G spectrum or investing a single penny in setting up telecom infrastructure, network etc are illegally acquiring and continue to acquire subscriber by misrepresenting that they can provide 3G services," said BSNL in its application filed on Tuesday.
The PSU further said "such illegal roaming arrangements for providing 3G services to a subscriber of 2G telecom operator, through roaming is prohibited and against the terms and conditions of licence and roaming guidelines issued by DoT".
BSNL said that it was also against the National Telecom Policy of 1999.
It also alleged that the telecom operators "distorted the 3G auction conducted by DoT on April 19, 2010 by cartelisation and collusion and hence duped the state exchequer and BSNL of huge sum of money".
Contending that it suffered a huge loss on account of the illegal 3G roaming pact of the operators, BSNL requested the tribunal to "pass an interim order restraining the petitioners (operators) from providing 3G services to its subscribers where it has no authorisation to do so".
During the proceedings today before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), BSNL requested to be impleaded and make a party along with DoT in the ongoing matter, in which telcos have challenged the government's direction to stop their 3G inter circle roaming.
However, the TDSAT had said it would decided only after deciding on the preliminary objections on its jurisdiction raised by the DoT.
Additional Solicitor General AS Tankha appearing for BSNL submitted that that PSU was going to be affected very largely by the outcome of its hearing and it should be heard. He had also submitted that an application in this regard would be filed today only.
The Telecom Ministry has questioned the jurisdiction of telecom tribunal TDSAT on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government's directive to stop 3G roaming agreements.
The telcos are to file their reply on BSNL's contention before the tribunal this week.