Termination action on 35 telco licences begins

Termination action on 35 telco licences begins

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the National Telecom Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), DoT Secretary R Ch­a­ndrashekar said that action would be completed by March next year.

The Telecom Ministry had recently obtained the legal opinion on the cancellation of these licences. The Telecom Ministry has been issuing notices to firms on two issues – ineligibility to get licences and missing rollout obligations.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended to the DoT to impose a penalty and cancel 65 new licences owing to the operators’ inability to meet out rollout obligation. The DoT has already issued notices to some of the companies among these.

The companies which have failed to meet the rollout obligations bagged the licences when A Raja was the telecom minister. The secretary said the new telecom policy, which includes new norms on managing spectrum and proposes de-linking licences from the spectrum, will be unveiled in January, a mo­nth later than scheduled. The draft was released by Communications Minister Kapil Sibal last month. Separately, addressing a gathering, Bharti Airtel CEO India and South Asia Sanjay Kapoor said the absence of a telecom regulatory environment not only makes life difficult for service providers, but also impacts investors’ confidence in the sector.

“We have lived through to­ugh times, whether it was bidding for 3G licences or seeking clarification on whether roaming is possible or not and then receiving (getting to know) that it is questioned,” he said.

His anguish was in the backdrop of the DoT’s opposition to 3G roaming agreement among various companies. It may be noted that leading operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had signed 3G roaming agreements for offering services in circles where they do not hold 3G spectrum.

This meant that if a user was in Kolkata on roaming and his/her service provider did not have a 3G licence in the circle, the user would still be able to access high-speed internet, thanks to the agreement.

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