Vodafone seeks change in licence terms over spectrum allocation delay

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SummaryVodafone India has registered a complaint with the department of telecommunications over the delay in the allotment of spectrum won by the mobile service provider in the previous auctions by over a month.

Vodafone India has registered a complaint with the department of telecommunications (DoT) over the delay in the allotment of spectrum won by the mobile service provider in the previous auctions by over a month. Subsequently, it has asked the government to amend the licence conditions to ensure that such delays don’t reduce its 20-year tenure for using the spectrum.

In a letter to the DoT secretary R Chandrasekhar, the company has said that there is undue delay in the allotment of spectrum in the 1,800 Mhz band, which it had won in the November auction. This, the company said, was despite it having made the payment of R372.2 crore sought by the DoT.

Vodafone pointed out that the delay is on account of the spectrum being used by operators who were asked to vacate it by the Supreme Court. The court on February 4, 2012, had ordered the cancellation of licences and the spectrum corresponding them.

“Vodafone had participated in the 1,800 MHz auctions held in November, 2012, and acquired the spectrum in 14 service areas at an auction price of R1,127.94 crore. As per the existing guidelines the company has made a payment of R372.22crore under the deferred payment option route on November 22, 2012, for the spectrum it had secured,” the company explained.

It said operators like Idea Cellular, Videocon, Uninor are on the same frequency band in circles like Assam, Haryana, J&K and Orissa, which was awarded to Vodafone.

Finally, it has made a case for altering the licence conditions to adjust for the delay by DoT, saying, “in context of the pending allocation of spectrum and continued use of spectrum by other licence operators, DoT may immediately clarify and confirm that the period of 20 years, for which the right to use the spectrum has been acquired by the licensee through this auction, will be reckoned from the date of actual allotment of the spectrum”.

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