Govt won’t allocate spectrum until Dec 12

Govt won’t allocate spectrum until Dec 12

New Delhi: The government on Monday informed telecom tribunal TDSAT that it would not allocate spectrum to any player till December 12, the next date of hearing of a petition filed by GSM operators against new telecom norms.

Appearing on behalf of the Department of Telecom, Solicitor General G E Vahanvati said it would not act on the report of the committee appointed to revisit the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) report till the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, accepting the request of GSM operators association COAI, TDSAT Chairman Justice Arun Kumar directed affected parties like Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, HFCL, Shyam Telelinks, BSNL and MTNL to implead themselves in this matter.

RCom, HFCL and BSNL accepted the impleadment notices on the spot, turning the spectrum row into a battle spanning the entire industry.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which has challenged the norms allowing dual technology and increased subscriber-linked criteria for spectrum allocation, also asked the tribunal to stay the issuance of letter of intent (LOI) for spectrum allocation.

The tribunal declined to pass any order, saying it was outside the purview of COAI’s petition.

TDSAT also directed the government to submit within 24 hours, an affidavit having all facts and developments pertaining to this matter. It, however, rejected COAI’s request for putting the methodology of spectrum allocation in the affidavit.

“No we would later decide on it," said Justice Kumar. He also declined GSM operators’ request to grant status quo in this matter.

The TDSAT also declined to pass any interim order at this stage and said: “Let the race start."

It also directed the committee of experts formed by the DoT to have a relook at the TEC report to submit its report within three weeks.

The Committee is having representation from COAI as well as from rival CDMA service providers association AUSPI.

“The committee is required to submit its report within three weeks," the tribunal said giving a free hand to the newly constituted committee. It also rejected apprehensions raised by the COAI.

“Let the committee decide whatever it wants. Things are moving faster. Do not raise any additional point on that," said the tribunal.

Meanwhile, it also clearly said that representation of COAI and AUSPI would be “without prejudice" and would not affect their stand in this ongoing suit here.