Airtel, Vodafone, Idea threaten to exit 3G

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New Delhi, Nov 23: Leading telecom service providers Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have threatened to exit 3G services if the government does not approve their pact to provide intra-circle roaming.

A joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed by Bharti Airtel chairman and group chief executive officer, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Aditya Birla Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla and Vodafone Group group chief executive Vittorio Colao revealed that if the government is not going to allow 3G Intra Circle Roaming (ICR), then refund the 3G lincense fees with interest along with compensation for all the capital investments made by the three major telecom firms. Moreover, a copy of the letter has also been sent to Communications Minister Kapil Sibal.

Meanwhile, the roaming agreement between three telecom service providers allowed them to provide 3G services in circles where they do not hold the licence. Airtel along with Vodafone won the 3G spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai and Idea has the spectrum in 11 circles but could not win spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) said that move against the term and conditions of the licence will result in serious financial implications for the government. Meanwhile, the letter sent by three telecom service providers sought the Prime Minister's intervention in the 3G Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) issue.

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