Govt may squeeze 2G gainers not cancel licences
Despite pressures from the industry regulator, DoT has no plans to cancel licences for 2G services awarded to new telecom service providers caught in the spectrum pricing scandal, but the government may take steps to realise the market value of the spectrum sold to them, government sources said on Friday.delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2010 00:36 IST
Despite pressures from the industry regulator, the department of telecommunications (DoT) has no plans to cancel licences for 2G services awarded to new telecom service providers caught in the spectrum pricing scandal, but the government may take steps to realise the market value of the spectrum sold to them, government sources said on Friday.
After communications minister A. Raja resigned this week amid accusations of underpricing 2G spectrum, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India suggested the firms that did not meet network roll-outs linked to the spectrum should be deprived of their licences.
The government has not yet worked out the real value of spectrum, which has been estimated to be multiples of the price at which it was sold at 2001-level prices. The auctions for 3G spectrum this year revealed a huge premium for the airwaves.
Kapil Sibal, the new communications and IT minister, took charge on Tuesday and has made it clear to DoT officials that he is determined to clean up the mess.
Sibal has also asked the telecom secretary to look into the TRAI letter recommending cancellation of 69 new 2G licences as they could not meet roll-out obligations.
The regulator recommended cancellation of 15 Etisalat licences, 10 Sistema Shyam licences, 8 Uninor licences, 10 Videocon licences and 19 for Loop.
TRAI had recommended penalties for non-compliance with roll-out obligations.
"This would vacate enormous amount of spectrum (radio waves) and this can be given to companies that are serious about meeting the schedule,” the regulator said