New Delhi: The telecom ministry will soon seek a review of the recommendations by sectoral regulator Trai for cancelling 69 licences as operators had failed to roll-out networks, in view of DoT’s finding that only 17 cases required such stringent action.
Last year, Trai recommended cancellation of 69 licences of six operators, including five new ones, who were sitting on spectrum and failed to provide services in the circles allotted to them.
“Department of Telecom (DoT) has identified 17 such cases for sending out termination notices for failing to meet roll-out timeline. After this, the department will re-send the rest of the Trai’s recommendations asking them to review them once again,” a DoT official said.
As of now, the ministry has identified 17 cases for sending out the notices. Of these, it has already sent 8 notices to various telecom operators including SSTL, Aircel and Etisalat DB and soon it will send to others in few weeks.
According to Trai recommendations, the companies under the scanner were Etisalat DB (earlier Swan) that has failed to roll out services in 15 circles, Videocon Communications (earlier Datacom Solutions) in 10 circles, Uninor (the Unitech Group) in 8 circles and Aircel in 5 circles, among others.
As per the conditions, the licensees are required to roll out the services in 90% service area in metros and 10% of district headquarters in other service areas within 12 months from the date of the award of licences.
Meanwhile, the DoT is examining the replies of show cause notices sent to various new telecom operators for being ineligible to get licences in 2008.
After examining the replies the DoT may send notices for termination of licences. The government auditor CAG had pointed out that as many as 85 licences were given to ineligible firms by former telecom minister A. Raja.
Most of the telecom firms, which were issued show cause notices and were asked to pay penalty for missing roll-out obligations, had approached telecom tribunal TDSAT opposing DoT’s action and paid the penalty under protest.
The DoT had collected over Rs300 crore from these operators.