In danger of losing its spectrum, Vodafone challenges government auction move

Vodafone today said it has filed a petition in Delhi High Court challenging Telecom Department's move to put its 900 MHz spectrum to auction despite its applications for licence extension pending with the Department. 

"Vodafone has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging DoT's action of putting its 900MHz spectrum to auction even when Vodafone¿s applications for licence

extension are pending with DoT," the company said in a statement.

Vodafone had in December last year sought extension of its licence period for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles, which are coming up for renewal in November 2014.The telecom operator has sought the extension under clause 4.1 of the licence agreement under which the government can extend the period of licence by 10 years at one time if the request is made by the operator during the 19th year of the licence period.

Vodafone said it is entitled to a fair and reasonable extension of its licence as per mutually agreeable terms.

"Both the policy and licence provide for continuity and this action of DoT to arbitrarily withdraw the 900MHz spectrum is not only against the provisions of policy and licence but also disruptive and against public interest," the statement added. The second round of spectrum sale will start from March 11, wherein government will put on auction the unsold GSM spectrum in 1800 Mhz band and airwaves held by telecom] licences in 900 Mhz band that is coming for renewal starting 2014 onwards.

Government will auction spectrum in 900 MHz band for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles. The existing GSM operators will be allowed to retain 2.5]m Mhz in each circle in the same band even after expiry of their licences after paying a market-determined price.

Vodafone has around 24 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz band in these three circles. The operator said it has invested more than Rs 50,000 crore in India and remains committed to providing quality and affordable telecom solutions to its almost 150 million customers across the country.

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