Tata Teleservices Limited (TTL) has welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict in which it had directed the government to auction the spectrum.
The apex court on Thursday had cancelled all the 122 licences allotted in 2008 by the former telecom minister A Raja. Following the Supreme Court’s order the telecom regulator TRAI has began the process of auction by asking the stakeholders to send their views.
“The aberrations in the policy date back to 2001 and have resulted in wrongful allocations, the beneficiaries of which were not before the Court. If auction covers spectrum wrongfully-allocated since 2001 and is executed in an equitable manner, without bias in favor of selected operators or specific technologies, it should bring in greater transparency and fair-play into the telecom industry”, TTL said in a statement.
TTL also said that it is obvious that in the new dispensation mandated by the Supreme Court to be put in place within four months, there has to be a level playing field consistent with the paradigm of transparency.
The Norwegian telecom firm Telenor whose licences also stand cancelled following the apex court’s verdict on Monday hinted that it would also participate in auction.
It said that when NTT DOCOMO invested in TTL, TTL had been in operations for over 12 years, already had 17 licences, had reached an annual turnover of Rs 6,000 crores, had 3,000 employees, about 100 offices, 33 million subscribers, 60,000 km of fiber, an NLD business, 38% investments in Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited and 100% investments in its tower subsidiary.
“The clubbing of TTL with two licensees who had just entered the telecom business from the real estate sector appears to have also overlooked this and the fact that only three new licenses were granted to TTL in January 2008, that these were for Assam, North East and Jammu & Kashmir, and most of all, these were CDMA licenses”, it said.
The investment made by its strategic partner NTT DOCOMO was, therefore, not on account of these three licences but on account of TTL’s established position as one of the strong players in the telecom field, apart from its strong Tata brand.
TTL had applied for these three licenses way back in June 2006 and this was kept pending for over 18 months until LOIs were finally issued in January 2008.
TTL has been advised to file a Review Petition in the Supreme Court seeking redressal on this point.