Adding its twist to the controversy over 3G roaming services, state-run telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd on Tuesday accused private operators of acquiring 3G subscribers by entering into "illegal" inter-circle roaming agreements without having designated spectrum in those circles.
In an application filed before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), BSNL has alleged that operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Telecom and Aircel are providing 3G services by "misrepresenting" to the public the "strength of illegal arrangements /agreements" entered by them.
"In some telecom service areas, without paying for 3G spectrum or investing a single penny in setting up telecom infrastructure, network etc, they are illegally acquiring and continue to acquire subscribers by misrepresenting that they can provide 3G services," said BSNL in its application.
The PSU further said "such illegal roaming arrangements for providing 3G services to a subscriber of 2G telecom operator through roaming is prohibited and against the terms and conditions of licence and roaming guidelines issued by DoT".
BSNL said that it was also against the National Telecom Policy of 1999.
It also alleged that the telecom operators "distorted the 3G auction conducted by DoT on 19 April 2010 by cartelisation and collusion and hence duped the state exchequer and BSNL of a huge sum of money".