New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to telecom companies (telcos) Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd in an appeal by the department of telecommunication (DoT) challenging an April order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

The TDSAT had ruled in April that the roaming agreements that three of these operators—Airtel, Vodafone and Idea—had signed in July 2010 were not illegal.

After the operators had entered into these pacts, DoT issued show-cause notices to them and subsequently fined them around 1,200 crore, following which the telcos approached TDSAT.​​

Intra-circle roaming allows an operator to offer 3G services using spectrum allocated to another operator, till such time as the first operator is allocated the necessary spectrum.

A bench of justices J. Chelameswar and S.A. Bobde said that it would consider the DoT’s application seeking stay of the TDSAT order which has allowed the companies to restart intra-circle roaming services.

Tata and Aircel Ltd, too, had signed intra-circle roaming agreements but ended the pact after DoT issued notices to them.

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