BSNL took 3G license for all the Circles (except Delhi and Mumbai under MTNL)) by paying Rs 10,186 crores to the Government and has been providing 3G services in all the circles. MTNL paid Rs 6564 crores for Delhi and Mumbai. Together, they have paid Rs 16750 crores to get 3G license to cover the entire country. MTNL is providing 3G services in Delhi and Mumbai. BSNL is providing 3G services in the entire country except Delhi and Mumbai.
Vodafone secured 3G spectrum license for 9 circles(including Delhi and Mumbai) by paying Rs 11618 crores. Airtel secured 3G license for 13 Circles(including Delhi and Mumbai) by paying Rs 12295 crores. Idea secured 3G license for 11 Circles by paying Rs 5769 crores. But each of them is offering 3G services in the circles not only where they have license, but also in the circles where they do not have license. How is it possible? They secured 3G license in such a way that atleast one of them is having the 3G license in each circle, except in Orissa where none of the three has the license. Each of them is providing services even in Circles where it is not having 3G license, by utilising the network of the other partner among them having the 3G license in those circles.
BSNL and MTNL together have paid Rs 16750 crores to have 3G license the entire country. On the other hand Airtel paid Rs 12295 crores only, but offering services in the entire country. It got the benefit of Rs 4455 crores(16750-12295). Similarly Vodafone got the benefit of Rs 5132 crores(16670-11618) and Idea got the benefit of Rs 10981 crores(16750-5769). Together they have got a benefit of Rs 20568 crores, which they should have paid to Government for securing li3G license for the entire country. Thus there is a scam in the 3G also.
Besides thus depriving the amount of Rs 20568 crores to the exchequer, these 3 private operators have damaged BSNL and MTNL by offering services in competition even in circles where they do not have license for 3G.
TRAI had written to DoT that enlisting subscribers for 3G services by these 3 operators in circles where they have no 3G license is illegal and is against the license agreement.
The private operators are supporting their illegal action on the plea that they are “roaming” on the network of others and it is allowed. But it cannot be roaming. Roaming is the case where the subscriber of one operator in a particular Circle (home network) can get services seamlessly while he is roaming in another circle through any network which is not his home network. Taking subscribers in circles where the operator is having no license at all is not roaming.
The licenses of the Airtel, Vodafone and Idea for 3G services should be cancelled for this fraud. In fact, as per the report in “The Economic Times” dated 15/11/2011, the DoT is proposing to issue notices to these private operators for terminating their 3G licenses, after getting the clearance from the law ministry.
Whether the DoT will really cancel the 3G licenses of these companies for this fraud or efforts will be made to sanctify it by a change in the policy allowing the operators to provide in circles where they do not have license–this is to be watched.
The private operators are always violating license conditions. Their networks are installed, maintained and operated by foreign companies causing a threat to the security of the country. Tehy refuse to provide services in loss making areas. Since the landlines are loss making, they are not concentrating in that business and hence they failed to provide internet connections significantly. 70% of the internet connections are provided by the PSUs BSNL and MTNL even by incurring losses on the landlines. If these PSUs are not there and if only the private operators are there, India would have been totally lagging in the internet connections.
The 3G licenses of these private operators should be cancelled immediately.