Vodafone Defends 3G Roaming Agreements With Others

Friday, 30 September 2011, 04:53 Hrs
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Bangalore: Leading telecom operator Vodafone has defended its roaming agreements with other players for 3G mobile services in circles where it did not have licence, saying this was as per the licence.

Recently, the Department of Telecom and the industry regulator Trai had raised doubts over 3G roaming pacts of companies, which are not having 3G services on pan-India basis. The pacts help them reduce cost.

"The UAS Licence expressly allows to enter into roaming agreements with other Licensees and to provide national and international roaming services to their customers," Vodafone said in a written reply to DoT seeking clarification on the issue.

Further, the letter added, "Inter-circle was permitted by DoT through an amendment to the Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) and the Cellular Mobile Telephone services (CMTS) licence on June 12, 2008.

"This amendment thus is a part of the UASL/CMTS licence terms and permits operators to enter into mutual commercial agreements of intra-service areas roaming facilities, with other service providers."

The industry (telecom operators) had specifically asked DoT whether intra-circle roaming for offering of services to customers would also be applicable for 3G in case some operators are not able to acquire spectrum in all circles, the letter said.

In response to the above query, the DOT had clearly stated that "the roaming policy is applicable to the licences and not to specific spectrum bands. Hence roaming will be permitted," Vodafone's letter said.

In July this year, in an effort to reduce cost and offer pan-India 3G services, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular had entered into an agreement to provide 3G's seamless service to their customers on pan-India basis.

These companies had entered into a bilateral roaming agreement, both inter and intra circle, to provide 3G services to customers in the circles where they can not build their own 3G network as they do not have the licence, in order to bring a pan-India experience of 3G services to their users.

Airtel, Aircel and Reliance Communications each owns 3G spectrum licences in 13 of the 22 telecom circles, while Vodafone has it in 10 circles and, Idea and the Tatas in nine circles each.
Source: PTI
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