Bharti Airtel has been under the hammer again as the Delhi High Court has pulled the stay order, which now permits the Department of Telecommunications to stop the operator from providing 3G services in seven circles where it does not hold the license to provide 3G. Airtel has now approached Supreme Court to challenge the order.
It started on March 15 this year, when the company was first slammed by DoT with a Rs 350 crore penalty along with an order to stop providing 3G services in those seven circles where Airtel provided its 3G services without holding licenses, which were allotted by the government to Vodafone and Idea during the 2010 spectrum auctions. Airtel had continued to share the spectrum despite of being previously notified by the government to stop doing so.
After the DoT order, Airtel approached the Delhi High Court where it was given a stay order till the next hearing scheduled to happen on May 8, however the court has now vacated the stay order. This indicates that the company will have to both shut down 3G mobile services in these seven circles and pay a penalty of Rs 350 crore to the government.
The government is also expected to tighten its strings on Vodafone and Idea Cellular for getting involved in similar cases and providing services in unlicensed zones by using 3G spectrum sharing pacts signed between these companies without government s nod.