Supreme Court has ordered Bharti Airtel not to extend its 3G Intra-circle roaming services to new customers in the 7 circles, where it did not have licences for 3G spectrum, according to a report from The Economic Times. Airtel got a temporary relief earlier this week, when Supreme Court allowed them to continue their 3G intra-circle roaming till April 11th. Last month DoT had asked Bharti Airtel to stop 3G services in 7 circles and asked them to pay Rs. 350 crore (Rs. 50 crore per circle) for illegal roaming pact with Vodafone and Idea . Delhi High Court temporarily stalled the execution of DoT’s order until the final hearing, after Airtel appealed against it.
Last week Supreme Court rejected a plea by Bharti to immediately hear its appeal against the Delhi High Court order on Thursday. Last week DoT had asked Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to stop 3G services outside their licensed zones in 3 days, and asked them to pay Rs. 550 and Rs. 300 crores, for violating licence norms and ordered Airtel to shut down 3G services within 24 hours in 7 circles.
Airtel has been accused by Reliance Communication and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of providing 3G services to customers in circles where it did not have licence.
The bench would hear Airtel’s appeal in a detailed hearing on May 9th 2013. Till then, Airtel cannot enroll new customers in these 7 circles including, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (East), Kolkata, Gujarat, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, but they can continue providing 3G services to the existing customer base.