Delhi High Court has temporarily stalled the execution of the Department of Telecom’s (DoT) order asking Airtel to stop 3G services in 7 circles in 3 days, where they did not acquire the license, according to a recent report from Economic Times. Bharti Airtel challenged the DoT’s order in the Delhi Hight Court last week, and the court ordered them to pay Rs. 350 crore (Rs. 50 crore per circle) for violating licence norms. But they are not required to pay the whole amount immediately.
The The court allowed Airtel to continue offering 3G services in these 7 circles Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (East), Kolkata, Gujarat, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, till the next hearing, which is scheduled for May 8. The High Court also asked Airtel to keep the revenue generated from these services in a separate bank account and submit the 3G revenue details to the court, and were also asked to sign an affidavit saying that the government can cash its bank guarantee if Airtel loses.
The winners of the 3G auctions were announced back in May 2010. Bharti Airtel acquired license in 13 circles, Idea in 11 circles and Vodafone in 9 circles.Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular partnered to offer pan-India 3G services back in 2011. DoT may send another notice to Airtel for sharing 3G airwaves with Vodafone and Idea Cellular, for which they might have to pay additional Rs 500 crore in penalties, according another report.