Telecom Disputes Settlement & Apellate Tribunal (TDSAT) comes to the rescue of Idea Cellular, it has restrained DoT from enforcing the penalty of Rs. 250 crore for holding overlapping mobile permits in five telecom circles. In October 2008, Idea acquired Spice Communications, since then the company has been holding overlapping mobile permits in six circles. Justice SB Sinha, the Tribunal chairman yesterday passed the interim order stating it was a prima facie case. And tribunal also said that Idea was not a fly-by-night operator.
Recently, the telecoms department issued cancellation notices to Idea for holding overlapping licences in the same circles as well as failure to roll out services in the circles where it held dual permits. Idea Cellular's scrips closed 2.16% lower at Rs77 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday. It had touched an intra-day high of Rs77.25 and an intra-day low of Rs75 earlier in the day.
Idea acquired Spice Communications that had permits to operate in six regions - Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra, but actually offered services only in Punjab and Karnataka. The telco merged these two with itself as it did not have mobile services in these circles, but did not use Spice's licences in the other four regions where it was already present. Idea Cellular did not use its own licences and airwaves allotted for Punjab and Karnataka because it had integrated Spice's mobile operations in these regions with itself.