State-run telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has accused private players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular of cartelisation for offering 3G services illegally in areas where they do not have spectrum.
In a petition filed with the Supreme Court, BSNL said the agreements among the three operators cause huge losses to real stake holders as well as the exchequer.
''Due to such arrangements, telecom service providers are being illegally benefited and the said practices are adversely affecting the business interest of BSNL,'' BSNL said in its petition.
Earlier, Reliance Communications had also raised similar objections.
BSNL filed the petition in response to a case filed by Airtel challenging an order by the Department of Telecom to shut down 3G services where the operator did not have spectrum.
The Supreme Court has asked the DoT not to take any coercive action till the case is heard, while directing Airtel to stop adding new subscribers in the seven circles.
Airtel had argued that the intra-circle roaming agreements were legal under the licence conditions and that any disruption could impact nearly 20 million subscribers.
''DoT had unequivocally clarified that the 3G intra-circle roaming is permitted. It was on the basis of this representation of the DoT that the operators invested huge amounts,'' Airtel said.
While BSNL has paid Rs10,186 crore to buy 3G spectrum in 20 circles, the three private operators are able to offer pan-India services without bidding for air waves in the auction.
''The cartelisation by the petitioner (Airtel) with law-violating telecom service providers has clearly robbed the DoT of the benefit of higher auction fees,'' BSNL said.
The problem with 3G roaming services is that operators are selling mobile connections even in areas where they do not have spectrum.