Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that 2G spectrum licence may be terminated if the licensees failed to roll-out operations within two years of allocation.
Filing its affidavit, Trai said it told the Centre in November, 2010 that 69 licences out of 130 failed to fulfil the roll-out obligations and recommended action against them.
It said the authority had specifically asked the DoT to take action against Idea Cellular and Spice Telecom. The two companies had failed to fulfil roll-out obligations and their merger was in violation of rules.
Trai's affidavit comes even as the Centre told the SC in its affidavit that it wasn't possible to cancel the licences and only monetary penalty could be imposed.
The affidavit is in response to an SC notice on a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy and Centre for Public Interest seeking cancellation of licences of those firms, which failed to roll-out operations. The court would hear the matter on March 2.
Though Trai recommendations are not binding upon the Centre, it is mandatory for the government to seek it.
On its part Trai began the exercise to seek compliance of roll-out obligations from all licensees from June 2009 onwards. Majority of licences were awarded in January 2008 and July 2008. They were assigned to start up spectrum within a year.
While impleading Trai through its secretary, the court had also issued notices to 11 telecom companies-Etisalat, Uninor, Loop Telecom, Videocon, S-Tel, Allianz Infra, Idea Cellular, Tata Tele Services, Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Dishnet wireless and Vodafone-Essar.