TDSAT stays spectrum fee order on Vodafone

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2013, 09:43am hrs
After Bharti, Idea Cellular and Aircel, it was now Vodafones turn to get a breather after the telecom tribunal on Tuesday stayed a government order, asking the operator to shell out R3,599 crore as one-time spectrum fee, till the next hearing on February 25.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunals (TDSAT) order comes a day after the Bombay high court issued a similar order to Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and the Madras high court on a notice issued to Aircel. The Bombay HC granted Bharti Airtel a stay till February 24 and Idea till March 1.

Passing the interim order, a single-member bench of TDSAT stayed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) demand and said there would be no coercive action against the company.

Vodafone is opposing DoTs move to levy a one-time charge on spectrum allocated to it beyond the initial allocation of 4.4 MHz.

The DoT had asked Vodafone to pay a total of R3,599 crore out of which its first instalment, of around R2,093 crore, had to be paid by January 28. While Bharti Airtel owes R5,200 crore, Idea has to pay R2,000 crore and Aircel R1,400 crore.

Meanwhile, issuing the order on Tuesday, TDSAT asked DoT to file its reply over Vodafones plea in two weeks. The tribunal gave Vodafone one week to file a rejoinder over DoTs reply.

Additional Solicitor General AS Chandhiok represented DoT, while senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented Vodafone in the matter.