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69 million staring at mobile jam

india Updated: Mar 02, 2012 07:35 IST
Satya Prakash

The government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that more than 69 million mobile subscribers in India might face service disruptions, as fresh auction was not possible for the 122 telecom licences cancelled by the apex court before they become illegal on June 2.

In an application filed in the SC, the government asked for a clarification on its February 2 verdict, cancelling the licences.

"As the licences/spectrum can be issued only in and around March 2013," the government said more than 69 million subscribers - who subscribe to the services of these licence-holders - represented about 7.5% of the total number of mobile subscribers.

The government virtually sought extension for the 122 licences on the ground that the fresh auction process would take at least 400 days.

"It is impossible for the government to conduct auction in four months even if we get Trai recommendations. We will decide the future course of action only after we receive clarification from the Supreme Court," said a department of telecom official.

Pointing out that as the SC did not set any specific deadline for the auction, it might affect the auction process and optimal price recovery, the government said it was, however, trying to expedite the auction.