Incumbent telecom service providers failed to get any relief from the telecom dispute settlement appellate tribunal (TDSAT) in the 3G roaming case. Two-member bench, on Tuesday, gave a split verdict in the case challenging the government directive, asking operators to stop providing services in areas where they did not have 3G spectrum.
“We will now move to the Supreme Court,” said an official of a pan-India telecom service provider.
The two member bench comprised its chairman Justice SB Sinha and member PK Rastogi differed in theirs findings.
Justice Sinha allowed the telecom operators’ plea against the government’s directive to stop intra circle 3G roaming saying that it was violative of natural justice.
Sinha was of view that the DoT had not followed the proper procedure and the operators were not given proper time to put their views. Setting aside the DoT’s order to operators to stop ICR roaming, Sinha asked the telecom department to start the procedure afresh by giving proper time to operators to respond.
Rastogi, however, dismissed telecom operators plea saying they cannot provide 3G services under their own brand in areas whether they do not have spectrum.
“The split verdict by the tribunal on the impending 3G roaming dispute clearly prolongs the uncertainty prevailing in the sector,” said Prashant Singhal, partner in member firm of Ernst & Young Global.
TDSAT has a sanctioned strength of three people including the chairman. However, due to retirement of its technical member the tribunal now has two people, which led to the split verdict.