In a letter to the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, GSM The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) on Monday demanded the cancellation of the GSM spectrum held by Tata Teleservices.
COAI alleged that the operator was favoured by sectoral regulator Trai, while the latter debunked the claims.
It said that Trai had excluded the GSM spectrum allotted to TTSL in 2008 in calculating the available spectrum for auction and that the "largesse" to TTSL will amount to over Rs 20,000 crore. The Supreme Court in February this year quashed 122 licences issued in 2008 under then telecom minister A Raja, terming them illegal and asked the government to complete spectrum auction by August 31, 2012.
“From a plain reading of the Supreme Court order it is apparent that the court has quashed the GSM spectrum allocated to Tata Teleservices. However, Trai has not included the quashed GSM spectrum (in 1,800MHz band) allocated to the Tatas,” COAI director-general Rajan S. Mathews said.
COAI alleged that the exercise undertaken between September 2007 and March 2008 was "wholly arbitrary, capricious and contrary to public interest apart from being violative of the doctrine of equality".
"Equally egregious are specific anomalies with regard to the GSM spectrum held by TTSL. While declaring the available spectrum for auction, Trai has not included the quashed GSM spectrum (in 1800 MHz band) allocated to TTSL," COAI said.
Reacting to the allegations TTSL said COAI is presenting a misleading picture "COAI is distorting the facts and attempting to present a misleading picture before the finance minister, in a bid to subserve its vested interests. Further, the letter is speculative in nature and represents a concocted story of some interested parties within COAI," a TTSL spokesperson said.
It said that COAI’s earlier demands on dual-tech spectrum have been rejected by both the Delhi High Court and the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).
Tata Teleservices has said that the COAI’s letter is an “unabashed attempt to interfere in (the) judicial process and tantamount to pre-empting the court from discharging its duties”, and called it a “concocted story” of some interested parties within COAI”.
COAI added the GSM spectrum allocated to TTSL be treated as quashed and included in the spectrum to be auctioned by August 31.
Earlier on Saturday Tata Teleservices protested strongly against ASSOCHAM’s letter seeking cancellation of its dual technology status. The company has demanded that ASSOCHAM investigate how these two letters were written in violation of norms and immediately withdraw them.
Tata Teleservices termed ASSOCHAM’s two letters last week to the Prime Minister and the Communications Minister as ones that “serve the interests of a handful of powerful members within the industry body”.