Telecom tribunal TDSAT on Monday issued notice to the government on Tata Tele's petitions seeking allocation of additional spectrum for GSM services before the proposed auction of airwaves later this year.
Tata Teleservices has also sought start-up spectrum for the Delhi circle and 39 districts across the country.
The TDSAT bench, headed by Justice SB Sinha, issued notice to the Department of Telecom (DoT) asking it to file replies with three weeks. It also asked Tata Tele to file rejoinder within two weeks after that.
The tribunal's direction came while hearing two petitions filed by Tata Tele. In the first one, the company has sought additional spectrum of 1.8 Mhz before the proposed auction. In the other, it has sought start-up radio waves of 4.4 Mhz in Delhi and across 39 districts in 9 circles.
During the proceedings, senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan appearing for Tata Tele submitted that DoT was bound to provide the additional spectrum as per the contract.
He also requested the tribunal to direct DoT to inform the company as to what arrangement it would make to adjust the spectrum if its petition succeeds.
The matter would come up on July 27 for hearing. TDSAT has also listed a similar plea filed by Anil Ambani Group firm RCom seeking additional spectrum.
Tata Tele also opposed GSM lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which wanted to be a party in the matter.
"COAI was not a party initially...They have nothing much to say in this matter," said Ramji.
However, the tribunal said that it would decide on COAI's plea next month and asked the GSM lobby group to file an application in this regard within a week.
Last year, the tribunal had directed DoT to allot start-up 2G spectrum of 4.4 MHz to Tata Teleservices in Delhi and 39 other places. However, DoT has not done so yet.
A service provider is authorised to get additional spectrum on achieving subscriber-linked milestones as per the existing telecom licence agreement.
On June 11, RCom had approached TDSAT seeking similar relief for GSM and CDMA spectrum.
RCom in its petition said that as per its agreement with DoT, telecom licence holder is authorised to get 4.4 Mhz spectrum to start service, and additional 1.8 Mhz after achieving specified subscriber numbers as stipulated in subscriber-linked criteria.
The company said it has achieved subscriber-linked criteria and is entitled to get additional spectrum of 1.8 Mhz.