The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Friday sent showcause notices to Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices for “illegally” offering 3G roaming services outside their respective licensed areas and asked them to explain why their licences should not be cancelled within 60 days.
It also said that a fine of Rs50 crore would be imposed if the operators failed to comply with the department’s directives.
Vodafone has been sent notices for 11 circles, Idea Cellular for 6, Tata Teleservices for 10 and Aircel for 6 circles, senior company executives told DNA on the condition of anonymity.
Airtel, which has also been offering 3G roaming services, had been sent a notice in September.
These operators had entered into roaming agreements for offering 3G services such as mobile TV, video calling and multimedia gaming in circles where they did not win 3G spectrum.
In December last year, DoT had asked the operators to terminate their agreements, calling it “illegal” and saying it was losing revenue because of such an agreement.
But the operators immediately moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Arbitration Tribunal, challenging DoT’s order saying it would harm customers and investment in the sector.
In July this year, TDSAT delivered a split verdict.