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DoT refuses to grant licence extension to Airtel, Vodafone.

India, March 15 -- In what is believed to be a serious jolt to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, the Department of Telecom has reportedly refused to grant extension of the operators' licences along with their current 900MHz band spectrum. The telecom department stressed the licence has been de-linked from the spectrum, and that the companies will have to participate in the auction and win to regain licence

According to a Money Control report, the DoT will soon formally reject the operators' demand for licence extension along with 900MHz band spectrum auction. The report citing official sources says the DoT response will be sent to the operators this week and will stress on re-acquire their existing 900 Mhz band spectrum through the auction.

Earlier, Vodafone had sought extension of its licence. In its letter to the DoT, it said, "The 19th year of licence has commenced on November 29, 2012 for Mumbai circle and Novermber 30, 2012 for Delhi and Kolkata circles ... we request you to extend the period of our licence ...on terms to be mutually agreed." Vodafone also alleged legal infirmity in the auction guidelines.

The DoT, however, rejected Vodafone's claims, saying "As for licence renewal, if operators do not accept the renewal terms, there will be no renewal of licence."

However, the telecom operators may breath a sigh of relief as the Delhi High Court has granted stay on DoT's move to stop 3G roaming agreement between between the telecom operators. The court passed the order on Idea Cellular's plea against the government's move for seven circles where it bought 2G spectrum.

Source: Money Control, Economic Times

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Publication:Digit
Date:Mar 15, 2013
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