Feature Article

October 04, 2012

Bharti Airtel Wins Legal Victory from High Court in India over 3G Service

Bharti Airtel has won a legal victory in India over 3G services.

A court in India this week issued a stay for an order to stop 3G services from going outside their licensed areas through roaming pacts, according to news reports.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday also told telecom officials not to make any "coercive action" until another hearing is held, according to the Reuters News Agency. The date of the next hearing was not set.

Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group Plc's India unit offer 3G service beyond their licensed zones through pacts among themselves, according to Reuters. But India’s Department of Telecommunications said such agreements are "illegal" and told the companies last Friday to stop 3G services offered through the roaming pacts.

Bharti Airtel Ltd had challenged the recent government order. The order relates to how the Indian government sold 3G airwaves in a 2010 auction. Bharti was given 3G bandwidth in 13 of India's 22 telecom service areas, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Idea Cellular got access in 11 service areas and Vodafone India got access in nine areas.

India’s telecom industry faces several challenges – and the issue is also a concern.

“The government's attempt to prevent the tie-ups is another setback to India's telecom industry, which is already reeling from regulatory uncertainty and stiff competition,” according to a report from The Journal.

In related news, MobilityTechzone reported that Bharti Airtel Ltd is India's largest telecom service provider. Its telecom tower arm, Bharti Infratel Ltd., is planning an IPO and will use the money to set up 4,813 new telecom transmission towers and upgrade existing towers.

Infratel now has more than 33,000 towers in 18 states. The company has a 42-percent stake in Indus Towers Ltd., a joint venture of Bharti, Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd.

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile ecosystem? Don't miss the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Austin 2012 happening now in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at Mobility Tech Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker

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