With the number of controversies 3G has caused in the past year, telecom providers must be wondering whether it was really worth it. Providers like Vodafone, Idea and Airtel had entered into roaming agreements with each other. Someone complained about this to the TRAI, who issued a notice to them to stop doing so.
The operators in turn said that this was perfectly within their rights, with Vodafone threatening to give back their license and Airtel saying this would be a policy change. We gave our readers a roundup on what 3G Roaming really consists of here.
After this, the TRAI probed further into the matter to see what is to be done. The latest development is that the Telecom Ministry has made a decision and asked Vodafone, Airtel and Idea to call of their Mutual Agreement of 3G Roaming. Their reason being this causes potential losses to the government and is in violation of their Telecom licenses.
Said Mr. R Chandrasekhar, Secretary of DoT, “The decision has been taken that this (3G roaming pacts) is in violation of terms and conditions of the licence, DoT will be issuing notices asking them (mobile operators) to stop their service with immediate effect. But on penalty, no decision has been taken yet.”
If this is final, it means to single provider can give their customers Nation Wide 3G and will be a major inconvenience for many. The only providers who can give their users nationwide 3G now are State Run MTNL and BSNL. A lot of industry leaders like Sunil Mittal and Kumar Mangalarm Birla have voiced their opposition to this. World-wide head of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao personally met with PM Manmohan Singh in November to plead with him for a stable Telecom Policy.
What do you think? Is it fair to telecom providers? Is the Government right in restricting 3G usage for the common man when he travels? Do let us know in the comments below.