Will Airtel, Idea and Vodafone be able to continue 3G ICR ?

The 3G ICRA of Airtel, Idea and Vodafone is again in limelight. DoT is challenging that this practice is illegal and all these 3 companies should stop it right now. It was 2011 when DoT first placed ban on this 3G ICR practice of these operator but all the 3 private telecom companies challenged DoT in-front of TDSAT and after 3 years TDSAT lifted the ban and allowed 3G ICR.

Now DoT is going through all legal process and planning to put ban again over such practice. According to DoT it was restricted practice in telecom technology under old licence regime. Though this process of 3G spectrum sharing is allowed under new Unified Licence (UL). The UL holders are permitted to do such practice but Airtel, Vodafone and Idea won their 3G permits in 2010 under the Unified Access Service licence which don’t allow them to do such sharing of their spectrum.

“We have sought legal opinion on TDSAT judgement. Law officers have been appointed recently so we should get their views shortly. Our view has not changed, but further action will depend on legal opinion,” a DoT official said.

Recently Reliance also started Using 3G ICR service with a 3G ICR agreement with Aircel. They extended their service to 18 circles which were previously just in 13 circles. Thogh just in 13 circles and all total in 333 cities, still Reliance was the leading 3G telecom according to the number of customers.

On 29th April when ban was lifted from 3G ICR all the 3 leading telecos started process to resume their service and introduce their service at every possible place. This was then became a challenge for Reliance to be on top in 3G customer base. Soon or later because of these moves reliance also expanded their service.

But the upcoming thunder seems to be for Airtel, Idea  and Vodafone only as both Aircel and Reliance was nowhere mentioned by DoT in this practice. May be Reliance and Aircel are having the Unified Licence and they are allowed to do such practice.

Well still there going to be a long legal process over this action but if the DoT win and put ban over the 3G service of Airtel, Idea and Vodafone then it will be surely a big loss to all the three and their customer base will get affected.

Here is an image of excel sheet which contains that which operator is using their Own licence for 3G and which on is using 3G ICR.

3g Coverage in India

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