New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT has allowed state-owned BSNL to be a party to the ongoing dispute between private operators and the Department of Telecom (DoT) over the 3G roaming pact.
BSNL has said that it is an affected party, on the side of DoT, in the case pertaining to the 3G roaming pacts signed by private operators - Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Aircel and Tata Teleservices.    

On the plea of BSNL to implead along with the DoT in this dispute, the tribunal said, "We are of the pinion, that it may be heard in the matter as an intervenor".
The TDSAT bench, headed by Justice S B Sinha, added, "by intervening in this proceedings, BSNL will be supporting the impugned order of the DoT dated December 23, 2011".
However, on the plea of DoT and BSNL to restrain the operators from adding new 3G customer for the circle, where they do not have radio band, the tribunal said, "...we are of the opinion that the Interim Order need not be varied at present".
On December 23, DoT had directed the telecom operators to stop their roaming services on 3G bandwidth within 24 hours.     

This was challenged by the operators before the tribunal within few hours, and on December 24 TDSAT gave them interim protection asking the DoT not to take any coercive action against them for their 3G roaming pacts.
The TDSAT directive came during the hearing over the plea of the government to vacate the interim order contending that it was suffering losses due to agreement.
During the last hearing, the tribunal had asked operators to explain as to how they would compensate the government if they lose the case.
BSNL, in its application before TDSAT, had accused the operators of acquiring 3G subscribers by entering into "illegal" inter/intra-circle roaming agreements without having designated spectrum in some of those areas.
The PSU had further said that operators are providing 3G services by "misrepresenting" the public on the "strength of illegal arrangements /agreements" entered by them.
"In some telecom service areas, without paying for 3G spectrum or investing a single penny in setting up telecom infrastructure, network etc (operators) are illegally acquiring and continue to acquire subscriber by misrepresenting that they can provide 3G services," said BSNL.