New Delhi: Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal will soon meet telecom industry leaders to work out an amicable resolution to the dispute between the government and service providers over a 3G roaming pact.

 "I will meet with the industry players soon to discuss the 3G roaming issue, industry players have sought time and I am hopeful to resolve the issue," Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of the Skoch summit here on Tuesday.

 The issue pertains to the pact among major service providers, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular, for providing a 3G roaming network on a pan-India basis.

 Other service providers, like Tata Teleservices and Aircel, had entered into a similar agreement to offer services in six circles.

Recently, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had said in an internal note that the roaming agreement among telecom companies for 3G services would lead to a significant loss of revenue for the government.

There may also be an impact on revenues from spectrum usage charges collected from operators, according to the internal note prepared by the DoT.

Earlier, the chiefs of three leading telecom firms -- Bharti, Idea and Vodafone -- had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention in the dispute over 3G roaming pact in a jointly signed letter, failing which they threatened
to surrender spectrum.

According to sources in the DoT, the telecom firms will not get the advantage of proposed provisions in the National Telecom Policy-2011 that may allow sharing of spectrum among operators as they entered into an agreement for sharing spectrum before implementation of the policy.

The 3G roaming agreement between service providers did not go down well with the DoT, which felt these alliances were in violation of the terms and conditions of the 3G spectrum agreements that had it signed with the operators in June last year following an auction.

The Telecom Ministry and sectoral regulator Trai have termed the roaming pact between these players as illegal, saying it was tantamount to spectrum sharing, which is not allowed as per the existing policy.

Meanwhile, in response to a question about the possibility of a second tranche of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum being auctioned during the current fiscal, Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar said, "As you know there is one chunk of BWA (spectrum) available in 15 circles, but it is unlikely that we will be able to complete the process within current fiscal."

 "We will be looking at allocation of spectrum after a decision is taken on Trai's recommendation with regard to spectrum and licencing," he added.

 With respect to state-run BSNL's request to surrender the BWA spectrum assigned to it, Chandrasekhar said: "We haven't taken any decision on that. The proposal has been taken on board. The matter is being discussed and no final view has been taken on the request but the essential question is on the terms and conditions of any such proposal."

Loss-making state-run BSNL has offered to surrender its Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum in 17 circles, seeking the refund of Rs 8,313.80 crore that it spent on the spectrum.

(Agencies)