Defending the 3G roaming agreement between telecom operators, The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), the GSM operators' association, has said that the agreements on 3G roaming among GSM operators were well within the licence framework.
The association also made it clear that there were no legal or regulatory issues that precluded Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular from entering into intra-circle roaming agreements that allowed them to provide 3G services to their customers.
"The Unified Access Services Licence (UASL) clearly permits the operators to provide all types of access services.
Indisputably, 2G, 3G, 4G are all merely different technologies for access services - all permissible in our technology-neutral UASL environment," COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said.
He added that there was no separate 3G licence that was issued to telecom operators who won 3G spectrum in a 2010 auction.
Mathews also said these arrangements were in the larger interest of consumers and allowed the benefits of scarce and limited broadband spectrum to be provided to a larger segment of the population.