DoT may ask for spectrum details from Idea

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, June 30: | Updated: Jun 30 2008, 21:14pm hrs
Department of Telecom, examining Idea Cellular's merger details with Spice, is likely to ask the company to submit its spectrum position at present along with that of Spice Communications.

Official sources said whatever readjustment would have to be done by Idea in terms of spectrum surrender as per UASL merger norms, Department of Telecom (DoT) would direct the company accordingly. Right now DoT is looking at the merger details.

The company has informed DoT about its merger with Spice seeking its approval to go-ahead.

An Idea official said it has notified the DOT about the merger and dded that it has not sought any clarification regarding the deal from the licensor.

The sources added that the deal should be able to pass the DoT clearance after making the required changes in spectrum accumulation "which could mean surrender" as well.

Going by the DoT's spectrum allocation norms, the the Idea-Spice merged entity would have to refund 4.4 MHz spectrum in Karnataka and 6.2 MHz in Andhra Pradesh as it would be difficult for the company to meet the subscriber base norm associated with these spectrum levels.

As per the Merger norms, post-merger licensee needs to meet the subscriber criterion within three months or surrender the excess spectrum.

In Karnataka, Spice with 1.8 million customers (Active 1.45 Million) is allotted 6.2 MHz spectrum and Idea has been allotted 4.4 MHz start-up spectrum. Thereby, the merged entity will have 10.6 MHz spectrum in Karnataka. With a likely subscriber base of less than 2 million, the merged entity will be entitled to only 6.2 MHz and thereby have to refund 4.4 MHz within 3 months.