The Supreme Court on Monday asked the telecom companies, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular...
The Supreme Court on Monday asked the telecom companies, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea Cellular, to participate in the spectrum auctions beginning March 4. However, it said no prejudice shall be caused to their rights and contentions made in the petitions pending before it.
Earlier, in January, the court had refused to stay an auction of spectrum as sought by the companies who wanted extension of licences. While Vodafone wanted extension of licences by 10 years in six circles, Bharti sought such extension in five. The licences, given by DoT for 20 years, are due to expire in December 2015.
According to telecos, until adequate additional spectrum as recommended by Trai is made available, the licensees whose licences are expiring may be allowed to continue their existing in-use spectrum and the auctions be conducted when there is adequate spectrum, thus giving them continuity of services. The companies had argued that DoT had no legal right to put the allocated spectrum to auction as the service provider is entitled to extension of its licences along with already allotted spectrum “on fair and reasonable terms” for its continued usage.