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Thursday, Mar 07, 2002

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Default calls `arrangement' stayed again

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, March 6

THE Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has extended its stay on the interim arrangement for distribution of all default mobile-to-mobile STD calls between Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Bharti Telesonic Ltd (BTSOL) on alternate days until July 6.

This is the fourth time that the stay has been extended. It was first valid until February 18, February 27 and then March 6, following the petition filed by BSNL on January 31, which claimed that this arrangement would amount to inequitable distribution of revenues.

The Department of Telecommunication, in its submission to TDSAT, had noted that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which had suggested the interim arrangement, had no right to do so. Nowhere in the TRAI Act was the authority mandated to take such a decision, it noted.

The Tribunal, while extending the stay, also told the authority to complete the consultation process on this issue before the next hearing.

The authority is expected to lay down the guidelines on the carrier access code (CAC) by then.

This move is expected to put a dampener on Bharti's NLD operations which were launched on January 26, but has since been caught up in litigation.

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