The Telecom Ministry is looking at options to protect the interests of
companies whose 2G licences will stand cancelled after January 18 but
are willing to continue operations in India.
"If people's licences are
expiring then who moves the Supreme Court those are all issues that can
be certainly decided. But naturally their business cannot be set at
naught something will have to be done," a senior government source said.
source did not clarify if the government will approach the apex court
for seeking extension of licences till the time next auction is
completed, but said the matter will be decided at the Ministry level and
does not need to go to the EGoM.
Telecom companies, whose
licences have been cancelled by the Supreme Court order, are allowed to
continue their services after January 18, 2013 only if they have won
spectrum in the recent auction.
As per the apex court order, 21
licences of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS), 16 permits of Telenor
controlled Uninor, 15 of Videocon and 3 CDMA permits of Tata
Teleservices will stand cancelled from January 18. Telenor is in the
process to transferring the business of Uninor in 6 circles under new
entity Telewings Communications, which recently won spectrum. Government
sources do not see the possibility of a spectrum auction before January
18 and said "it will be done by March".
The Empowered Group of
Ministers (EGoM) on telecom, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram,
that met earlier Thursday deliberated upon several issues regarding
spectrum auction due this fiscal, but did not reach a final decision and
would meet again on January 7.
"Timeline is yet to be decided. Once the decisions are taken then timeline will be decided," the source said.
Minister Kapil Sibal after EGoM meeting said," "The EGoM deliberated on
several issues for about two hours, then decided to meet again on
January 7 to further deliberate on the issue. We hopefully will render
some decision on that day and then go to the Cabinet thereafter."
to sources, the EGoM deliberated on the design of auction, quantum of
spectrum, services area where GSM spectrum in 1800 and 900 MHz spectrum
will be auctioned but could not discuss measures for CDMA (800 MHz)
spectrum which had not attracted any bidders in the November 2012
"Number of blocks, design of auction, how to protect
preferential right of existing players on 2.5 Mhz in 900 Mhz band,
service area etc were the issues that were discussed," the source said.