Chief executive officers of four telecom companies have written to the Telecom Ministry that any adverse decision on 3G roaming will impact investor sentiments. Honchos of Bharti, Vodafone, Idea and Tata Teleservices have told Mr Kapil Sibal that the roaming agreements were legal and permissible.

In a letter to the Telecom Minister, Mr Sibal, they said any adverse move could do irreparable damage to India's long standing as an investment destination with serious consequences on the future growth and development of the sector and sought his intervention to resolve the situation.

“We are now dismayed and astonished by the disingenuous and protracted disinformation campaign against the intra-circle roaming arrangements being followed by number of industry entities,” the four operators said in the letter.

The note is signed by Mr Sanjay Kapoor, CEO India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel, Mr Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular, Mr N Srinath, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices and Mr Marten Pieters, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone India.

Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular had entered into roaming agreement for offering 3G services in circles where they had failed to get 3G spectrum. Tata Teleservices and Aircel have also entered into a similar agreement. But the telecom regulator and enforcement cell of the Department of Telecom have termed these agreements illegal.

“Bidding in the 3G auction took place on the clear understanding that such arrangements are legal and permissible. Any determination now that this might not be the case would fundamentally alter the legal and economic basis on which the business case for 3G bids was evaluated, inevitably leading to a requirement to either refund to the bidders or re-run the auctions,” the operators said in a letter to Mr Sibal.

(This article was published on November 2, 2011)
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