Telecom operators can continue providing 3G roaming facility to mobile phone subscribers beyond their allotted zones through pacts with other service providers after the Supreme Court on 18 December turned down the Centre's plea to stay an appellate tribunal decision allowing them to provide the facility.
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S A Bobde, however, said all rights and obligations arising out of providing such roaming facilities to new subscribers would be subject to the final outcome of the petition filed by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT).
"We don't see any reason to grant an interim stay order," the bench said when the government counsel submitted that companies should not be allowed to provide intra-roaming facility to new subscribers during pendency of the appeal.
Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in April had quashed a government ban on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular offering 3G mobile services beyond their licensed zones through roaming pacts. The tribunal had said it was in national interest to allow better utilization of scarce radio frequency.