Sibal meets telecom operators on 3G issue

New Delhi : Communications Minister Kapil Sibal Wednesday met chiefs of leading telecom service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Tata and Vodafone to discuss the issue of 3G roaming and spectrum pricing, official sources said.

The meeting which saw participation from telecom czars including Sunil Bharti Mittal of Bharti Airtel, Anil Ambani of Reliance Communications, Kumar Mangalam Birla of Idea Cellular, Ishaat Hussain from Tata and Vittorio Colao of Vodafone took place after the operators sent a letter to the prime minister seeking his intervention in the 3G intra-circle roaming (ICR) issue last week.

According to official sources, issues such as 3G roaming and spectrum pricing were discussed in the meeting however no formal assurances were given by the government on anything.

Airtel, along with Vodafone and Idea Cellular, had entered into a roaming agreement to offer 3G services in the circles where they could not win the 3G spectrum.

However, the telecom regulator and the enforcement cell of the telecom department said the agreement was illegal.

The operators last week expressed discontent and sought the prime minister’s intervention in the ICR issue, saying that the government should refund the 3G licence fees if such pacts were not allowed.

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