DoT mulls options to pre-empt spectrum auction deferment

NEW DELHI: The Department of Telecom is contemplating all the options to stall any attempt of telecom operators to defer spectrum auctions, which are slated to start from March 4.

“We have sought opinion from the ministry of law and justice over the matter and we want to ensure the auctions don’t get pushed further,” a senior telecom department was quoted as saying to a publication.

Media reports said that Bharti Airtel, Idea, Reliance Telecom have separately moved court against conditions mentioned in the notice inviting application, which is a legal framework for spectrum auction.

Latest reports also said that Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are likely to move the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) as early as this week for postponement of the 3G auctions. The operators want the resolution of issues such as disturbances in the band before the auctions.

They want DoT to first change their bands with a fresh 3G spectrum and auction the balance. The disturbances in the border circles result in a poor quality of service in the 3G band. The problem lies with the PCS band in 1900 MHz, used by Pakistan, whose downlink moves across the border and disturbs the uplink in the 2100 MHz band used by Indian operators, the reports added.

Idea Cellular has filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court against tougher auction rules. All the cases are expected to come up for hearing next week.

The government is hoping to raise at least Rs 80,000 crore from the sale of 2G and 3G airwaves, which would help in curtailing its fiscal deficit to some extent but any delay in the sale could derail the plans.
 

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