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Define level field, cell firms told
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi |
April 02, 2003 13:42 IST
The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal asked cellular operators on Tuesday to list measures that will help achieve a level playing field for both wireless-in-local-loop limited mobility operators and cell firms.
The cellular operators will take up the issue on Wednesday even as they continue with their arguments against the policy of allowing WLL limited mobility.
TDSAT has also asked the counsel representing cellular operators to finish his presentation by Wednesday afternoon and allow the government and basic operators to give counter arguments in favour of the policy. Cell firms have been arguing their position since Monday.
Cellular operators also filed a petition today rejecting the application filed by Reliance Infocomm supporting WLL limited mobility. In turn, Reliance Infocomm also filed its rejection of the new documents filed by the Cellular Operators Association of India.
On Monday, the Bharti Group, which so far had kept away from the legal proceedings, jumped into the fight and filed its petition supporting cellular operators.
The TDSAT took up the case after the Supreme Court ordered it to review its earlier decision to allow basic operators to offer WLL limited mobility services.
The Supreme Court had said the TDSAT must take a re-look at the issue of a level playing field and the other issues raised by cellular operators.
The dispute started almost three years ago, when the government permitted basic operators to offer WLL limited mobility services.
The policy was objected to by cellular services firms on the ground that the decision would hamper their growth. They said WLL limited mobility services were comparable to a full-fledged mobile service.
Cell firms also said the licence conditions were in favour of basic operators, giving them undue advantage in a competitive market. The issue was also taken up by a group of ministers on infotech and telecom, headed by the finance minister. This panel made a few changes to remove the disparity between cellular and WLL operators. However, the issue remain unresolved.
The entire telecom industry is awaiting a decision from TDSAT on the controversy over WLL services. But TDSAT's decision may not end the three-year-old turf war as the losing party may go to the Supreme Court.