16 mil­lion MTS users get respite

Reg­u­la­tor to ap­proach SC for ex­ten­sion of Jan­uary-18 dead­line for can­cel­la­tion of li­cences

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE - Manoj Gairola

NEW DELHI: More than 16 mil­lion sub­scribers of Sis­tema Shyam Te­le­ser­vices Ltd (SSTL) — which op­er­ates CDMA ser­vices un­der the MTS brand — are in for some good news. The Depart­ment of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions (DoT) has de­cided to ap­proach the Supreme Court for an ex­ten­sion of the Jan­uary 18 dead­line for can­cel­la­tion of its li­cences.

The Supreme Court had in Fe­bru­ary 2, 2012 can­celled all li­cences is­sued by for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions and IT min­is­ter A Raja fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion in the al­lo­ca­tion of spec­trum The gov­ern­ment was asked to auc­tion spec­trum afresh by May 2. The dead­line was later ex­tended and oper­a­tors were al­lowed to of­fer ser­vices till Jan­uary 18.

SSTL, how­ever, did not par­tic­i­pate in the auc­tions held in Novem­ber last year on grounds that its li­cences should not have been can­celled in the first place as it did not do any­thing wrong. It also said that the re­serve price for auc­tion was very high.

“The gov­ern­ment is work­ing out a strat­egy to make bid­ding in the 800-MHz band, for which there were no tak­ers last year, at­trac­tive for oper­a­tors,” said a DoT of­fi­cial. “That is the rea­son we may seek ex­ten­sion of dead­line for the 800-MHz band that is used by CDMA oper­a­tors.”

The em­pow­ered group of min­is­ters (EGoM) on tele­com headed by fi­nance min­is­ter P Chi­dambaram will meet on Mon­day to fi­nalise modal­i­ties of auc­tion in the 800-MHz band.

The EGoM has two op­tions be­fore it. It can re­duce the re­serve price of spec­trum in the 800-MHz band or it may re­fer the is­sue of re­serve price to the Tele­com Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity of In­dia (TRAI).

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