In a strong rebuttal to telecom operators on the issue of 3G roaming, the government has alleged that service providers have "not come with clean hands" and that they have "suppressed material documents" before telecom tribunal TDSAT.
Filing an affidavit before the TDSAT, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has requested the tribunal to dismiss the petition of telecom operators challenging the government directive to stop 3G roaming immediately.
DoT said the 3G roaming pact by operators is "in violation of various terms and conditions of Cellular Mobile Telecom Service License and various terms and conditions of the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) dated 25.02.2010 for 3G/BWA Auction".
The DoT has restrained telecom companies from offering 3G service in areas where they had failed to win 3G spectrum in the auction held in 2010.
Operators had entered into agreement with each other to offer 3G services in the name of inter-circle roaming, thereby avoiding any spectrum usage charge or licence fee to the government.
The DoT further submitted in its affidavit that "... inspite of the directions by this Tribunal vide order dated December 24, 2011, the petitioners (operators) have not submitted the intra-circle roaming agreements entered into with various telecom service providers. The present petition is liable to be dismissed on this ground alone."
DoT had on December 23, 2011, issued notices to telecom companies saying their 3G roaming pacts were illegal and should be stopped immediately within 24 hours.
Operators -- Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tatas -- challenged DoT's decision before the TDSAT on the same day.