As the hearing on cancellation of 2G licences advances towards a crucial stage in the Supreme Court, the war among telecom operators has come out in the open.
While the companies that benefited from the 2008 allocation have defended the policy, the existing operators including Idea and Vodafone have opposed it outrightly.
Arguing before the bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice AK Ganguly, senior counsel Vikas Singh for Sistema Shyam Services (brand name MTS) on Thursday said it was government's consistent policy that helped in opening the market and bringing down the tariff.
Singh added that licences of the companies cannot be cancelled on the basis of procedural lapses by the government.
On the other hand, Idea, Vodafone and Aircel argued that those who got licences between 2003 to 2006 cannot be on the same footing with those getting licence in 2008 as the allocation of spectrum took place after several changes were made in the government policy.
The amendments include change in the cut-off date and then changing "first serve first serve" to "First Comply with the Letter of Intent."
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Vodafone Essar South Ltd and Aircell said the arguments advanced by the newcomers suggested a "thief" and "crooked" calling all the others crooked.
Thursday's arguments, in fact, support the contention raised by additional solicitor general Indira Jai Singh who had earlier suggested that there was a telecom war going on.