MUMBAI : Reliance Communications Ltd, Tata Teleservices Ltd, and Aircel Cellular are in advanced discussions over offering their subscribers third-generation intra-circle roaming, and services are likely to be launched next month, a source from one of the three companies said.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal late April quashed penalties imposed by the government on mobile operators who had entered into 3G intra-circle roaming pacts.

The pacts allow operators to offer 3G services using the spectrum of another operator with whom it has an agreement.

“We will make the announcement next month,” the source said. He said the companies were hoping to better monetise their investments in 3G spectrum by entering into the sharing pacts.

The three companies, Tata Teleservices, Aircel Cellular and Reliance  Communications, have 3G spectrum in about 30 circles out of India’s 22  circles, including the overlapping ones. While Reliance Communications has 3G  spectrum in metro cities such as Mumbai and Delhi, Tata Teleservices and Aircel Cellular are strong in south India.

Tata Teleservices and Aircel have not been able to roll out a decent 3G coverage in most of their circles due to financial constraints. Soon after the auctions were over, conditions in the Indian telecom markets worsened, and the two companies, laden with debt from the auction, had chosen to wait and watch, instead of launching 3G services.

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