DoT again seeks legal opinion on entry fee refund for telecos

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has again sought legal opinion on the issue of refund of entry fees to telecom companies whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court.

Though the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) had earlier decided to adjust fee for those who won spectrum in the auction, the DoT has written to the Law Ministry saying that it had received legal notices from various companies which include Etisalat DB, Sistema Shyam, ByCell, S Tel, Loop Telecom among others, seeking protection of their investment.  

Among these companies, it was only ByCell whose licences were revoked by the government due to security reasons. Rest of the companies lost their licences after the Supreme Court order.

According to sources, DoT has sought the Attorney General’s opinion on “whether entry fee, paid by licensees whose licences have been ordered to be quashed by the Supreme Court needs to be refunded/released/adjusted to all the licensees, as requested by them, whether participating in auction or not ?”

The Apex Court had cancelled 122 telecom licences belonging to eight telecom operators in the 2G scam in February.

Of the eight companies whose licences were cancelled, only three companies—Idea Cellular, Videocon and Telenor (majority stakeholder in Uninor)—participated and won spectrum in the auction held last week.

DoT wants clarity on the issue whether there is a case to refund telecom operators who did not participate in the auction and have sent notices or requested the same from the government following EGoM’s decision in October. 

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