New Delhi: Armed with telecom regulator Trai’s recommendations to cancel 69 new licences for missing roll-out schedule, the telecom ministry has asked its internal wing to conduct field survey in cases of each operator before issuing a show-cause notices to them.
According to official sources, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has asked its Telecom Enforcement Resource Monitoring (Term) cell to collect data after conducting field surveys in case of each operator and submit the report.
This, the officials said, is done by the DoT on its own from time to time to ensure that roll-out of services took place as per licence terms and conditions for effective utilization of the spectrum.
Trai had last week submitted suo moto recommendations asking the government to cancel 69 new licences of five operators, including Etisalat, Uninor and Videocon, issued in January 2008 by former telecom minister A Raja as these licencees have failed to roll out services at all or for improper launch of services.
Asked whether DoT may initiate action to cancel the licences, officials said cancellation may not be a viable solution as this would cause hardship to customers and new telecom minister Kapil Sibal may decide on the matter soon.
The regulator had recommended that licences be cancelled in at least 15 circles given to Etisalat and 10 circles given to Sistema-Shyam.
Sistema-Shyam, a JV between Shyam group and Russian giant Sistema, has claimed that they have rolled out services in all 22 circles and has over seven million subscribers in its kitty.
Similarly, Uninor, a JV between Unitech and Telenor of Norway, has rolled out services in 12 circles and was in process to start services in others.
Trai, which had recommended penalty for non-compliance with the roll-out obligations, said that this amount could be huge. “So, we had suggested that these licences should be cancelled. This would vacate enormous amount of spectrum (radio waves) and this can be given to companies that are serious about meeting the schedule,” Trai report has said.
As per the conditions of licence, the licencees are required to roll-out the services in 90% service areas in metros and 10% district headquarters in other service areas within 12 months of the date of award of licences.