GSM telephony operators Bharti, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and Spice, leading members of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), have decided to go to the Delhi High Court this week to seek a stay on the telecom tribunal TDSAT’s order this month that lifted a stay on spectrum allocation.
While hearing the petition filed by the COAI against the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) decision to allow CDMA and GSM technologies by operators within the same area, in addition to using subscriber- linked criteria to allocate spectrum, TDSAT had lifted the stay on spectrum allocation to CDMA operators who have been allowed to offer GSM services under the dual technology regime.
TDSAT’s order had opened the way for allotment of GSM spectrum to Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, as well as the allotment of Letters of Intent to telecom aspirants who have been waiting to get licences and spectrum to roll out services.
“We have imitated the process, and will try to finish the registry today, or else the process will be completed on Saturday, as tomorrow will be a holiday”, said TV Ramachandran, Director-General of COAI.
COAI says that since the case filed by the GSM operators against DoT’s decision in October is not over yet, the lifting of the stay on spectrum allocation will make the GSM operators’ case “infructous”.
The GSM operators have also have been saying that only additional spectrum can be given under the same licence, and if Reliance is given 4.4 MHz of spectrum under the same license under a separate technology category, it amounts to giving a new licence.