Mumbai: Telecom ministry has rejected Qualcomm Inc’s application for a licence to provide Internet services, the US chipmaker said on Thursday, casting uncertainty over its India plans after it paid $1 billion to buy broadband spectrum last year.
Qualcomm said the application was rejected on grounds that it found to be “baseless.” It did not give details and a company spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the official statement.
The telecom ministry has cited Qualcomm missing the deadline for applying for the Internet service providers’ licence as one of the reasons for rejecting the application, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
According to the broadband spectrum auction rules, firms that won wireless airwaves in last year’s auction were required to apply for the licence within three months of being declared winners, the sources said.
Qualcomm said in a statement that it fully complied with the application process and it would work with the Indian authorities to resolve this matter.
The ministry’s move will delay the company’s plan to launch broadband wireless services in India, for which it had spent $1 billion to buy wireless airwaves in Mumbai, New Delhi, Haryana and Kerala circles in an auction last year.
Qualcomm, which sold a 26% stake in its India broadband venture to Indian firms Global Holdings and Tulip Telecom for about $58 million last year, has said it seeks to eventually exit the business.
Qualcomm was expected to launch wireless broadband service this year after getting the Internet Service Providers’ licence from the telecommunications ministry.