GSM operators suffered a setback on Friday with the Delhi High Court dismissing a petition challenging the government's decision to allow use of dual technology for mobile services and revised spectrum allocation norms.
The High Court imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 each on six petitioners, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Idea Cellular, and their association Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) which is to be deposited with the Delhi High Court Legal Service Authority.
The verdict was pronounced by Justice Gita Mittal, who had reserved the judgment more than five months ago in the high stake matter.
The matter is also being heard in the telecom tribunal TDSAT.
Anil Ambani Group company RComm and Tata Teleservices, both CDMA-based operators, are the major beneficiaries of this verdict as the government has already allocated GSM spectrum to RComm in all circles and Tatas are getting the radio frequency as and when it is becoming available.
The case filed by the association witnessed a marathon argument for over two months, virtually involving the entire telecom industry.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on December 12 last had refused to stay implementation of government's decision and COAI had also challenged TDSAT’s order before the High Court.
GSM operators’ lobby group had alleged that the allotment of crossover spectrum to rival CDMA service providers by the government was in violation of Unified Access Service Licence regime.
COAI submitted that CDMA operators should provide GSM services only with the spectrum earlier allotted to them.
However on the other hand, Reliance, a CDMA operator, submitted that the GSM players have got more than required spectrum and their effort is to stop it from getting the start-up spectrum for operations in the same segment.
The government had submitted that it would implement telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations for spectrum allocation as an interim measure.