The one-time spectrum fee is the charge operators were asked to pay for holding extra spectrum .The partnership gives Aircel and Tata Tele access to most expensive service areas of Delhi and Mumbai where RCom has permits; DoT has barred 3G operators from signing intra-circle 3G roaming agreement with non-3G operators.
Reliance Communications Ltd has entered into an inter-circle roaming agreement with Tata Teleservices Ltd and Aircel Cellular Ltd for pan-India 3G roaming.The partnership gives Aircel and Tata Teleservices access to most expensive service areas of Delhi and Mumbai where RCom has permits.
The three operators, along with Loop Mobile, had earlier formed an intra-circle 2G roaming agreement. Inter-circle refers to ‘normal’ roaming, where roaming comes into effect only when the subscriber moves out of his home state, while intra-circle roaming refers to a coverage-boosting arrangement within the home state of the subscriber.
Aircel and Tata DoCoMo subscribers would be able to roam on RComm’s 3G networks when they move out of their home states. The facility will be free for RComm’s subscribers. At present, only Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, and Vodafone offer pan-India roaming services through similar roaming agreements.
RCom and Aircel have permits for 3G services in 13 out of 22 service areas while Tata Teleservices has permit in 9 circles.The three operators have largely complementary 3G coverage areas, with RComm particularly strong in the metros, north and north-east India, while the other two have a strong presence in south India.
For the quarter ended 31 December 2013, the RCom had 36.2 million data customers, including 11.1 million 3G customers.Last month, the DoT issued notices to Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, cancelling the intra-circle roaming (ICR) agreements that allowed these companies to offer 3G services in the circles where they do not have spectrum.
“We are delighted to be the first operator to offer 3G national roaming to our customers in partnership with other telecom firms having state-of-the-art 3G networks. “These alliances will further consolidate RCom’s position as the leading data operator in the country and will help the Company improve its post-paid and Corporate customer market share,” RCom’s Chief Executive Officer for Consumer Business, Gurdeep Singh, said in a statement.