Vodafone approaches Delhi High Court for licence renewal

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 10 2013, 17:46pm hrs
VodafoneThe case is another in the sector where revenue growth rate has come down to single digit. (Reuters)
Vodafone India has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the decision of the department of telecommunications for not extending its licences for Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

In a release the company noted it is taking all required actions, including legal, to ensure extension and continuity of its licences in these circles. The case is another in the sector where revenue growth rate has come down to single digit with most companies and the government locked in court battles.

Indias second largest telecom operator by subscriber said it believes that it has right to extension as both, applicable policy (NTP 99) and licence, provide for extension and continuity of licences. The 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz spectrum allocated to Vodafone, is embedded in the licence and extension of license necessarily means the extension of embedded spectrum. It has about 155 million subscribers across India. The licences come up for renewal in November 2014, but the rules say companies must apply for renewal a year ahead.

Vodafone India claims the government department in its decision of February 15 2012, has already informed the company that the validity of existing mobile licences may be extended for another 10 years at one time, as per the provisions of the extant licensing regime with suitable terms and conditions. Thus, the decision to extend licenses has already been taken by DoT and it is only the terms and conditions of extension that are to be decided, it notes.

Vodafone had filed applications for extension of the licences for the three metro circles with the government in December 2012. It had also filed a petition with the Delhi High Court for consideration of the licence extension applications and give the company a chance to make its case.

Subsequently the telecom department has rejected Vodafones applications for extension saying it must come through the auction route for the period post 2014.

But Vodafone says this is unfair and is constrained to take the legal recourse by challenging (the) arbitrary rejection of its extension applications as this matter can potentially cause grave inconvenience to millions of customers in these three circles.