Govt makes case for more time for revoked telecom licences

The government has asked the Supreme Court whether mobile phone carriers whose licences will be revoked due to an earlier order can operate until an airwave auction in March, said a senior government official with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move aims to generate more interest in the auction after the government failed to attract takers for GSM spectrum in four key telecommunication zones and no bidders for CDMA areas in an auction in November, the official said.

The official, who said the government filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, said an extension would also ensure continuity of services to consumers,

The Supreme Court ordered 122 zonal permits to be revoked last year, saying a 2008 government grant process was flawed.

The court order affected eight carriers including the Indian units of Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL) and Russia's Sistema, as well as Idea Cellular.

The government held an auction of mobile phone airwaves in November to allow some of those companies to win back spectrum, but the sale raised less than a quarter of its 400 billion rupee target.

An extension by the court would allow Sistema's Indian unit to continue operations beyond January 18 in 21 zones, as it did not participate in the earlier auction. It would also allow Telenor to continue to provide services in Mumbai.

EDITORIAL OF THE DAY

  • Finalising the formula for fixing the fair market value of shares calls for a detailed debate

    Whenever there is a change of regime at the Centre, the new government has its tasks cut out for execution.

FC NEWSLETTER

Stay informed on our latest news!

TODAY'S COLUMNS

Roopen Roy

High CEO pay and the gaps it leaves

Unlike the UK, Norway took a remarkable decision with its ...

Zehra Naqvi

Watch your words, for they can kill

You must’ve heard the ph­rase ‘if looks could kill’. Ever ...

Dharmendra Khandal

Biodiversity day has come and gone. Yet again

Every year on May 22, world celebrates international biodiversity day. ...

INTERVIEWS

William D. Green

Chairman & CEO, Accenture