Bloomberg News

Bharti Gains After Indian Tribunal Agrees to Hear 3G Disputes

December 28, 2011

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Bharti Airtel Ltd. led shares of Indian telecommunications companies higher in Mumbai trading after a dispute tribunal put on hold a government order telling wireless providers to end some roaming agreements.

Bharti, India’s biggest wireless services provider, gained as much as 3.7 percent to 342.85 rupees and traded up 2.8 percent at 11:07 a.m. Idea Cellular Ltd. rose as much as 3.9 percent and Reliance Communications Ltd. advanced 2.6 percent.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal will hear the operators’ complaint against the government’s halting of 3G roaming services agreements on Jan. 3, Bloomberg UTV reported Dec. 24. New Delhi-based Bharti said last week it was “shocked” by a Department of Telecommunications order to end the roaming agreements that enable companies to offer 3G services where they don’t own spectrum.

“The fact that TDSAT is looking at it indicates they’re serious about it,” said Ankur Rudra, an analyst at Ambit Capital Pvt. in Mumbai. “The faster it gets sorted out, the better it is for the industry.”

The contracts between cellular-service providers are a “breach of rules” and must be stopped immediately, R. Chandrashekhar, secretary of the telecommunications department, told Bloomberg UTV. The government department hasn’t yet decided whether to impose a penalty on operators for violating license terms, Chandrasekhar said.

Justice S.B. Sinha, the New Delhi-based chairman of the tribunal, didn’t immediately answer calls to his office and residence.

--Editors: Anand Krishnamoorthy, Terje Langeland

To contact the reporter on this story: Ketaki Gokhale in Mumbai at kgokhale@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net


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