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Legal option ‘open’ to telcos,says Sibal

The minister for communications and IT,Kapil Sibal,said telecom companies affected by the cancellation of 2G licences had legal options open to them

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2012 1:27:13 am

The minister for communications and IT,Kapil Sibal,on Thursday said telecom companies affected by the cancellation of 2G licences had legal options open to them.

Sibal told reporters that legal action remained open to the service providers,of whom some indicated that they would file a review petition following the court’s decision.

“That option remains open to them,” he said.

Uninor said it would “exercise all options available” to continue its Indian operations. But Telenor,the Norwegian partner in the business,said it could close down in the country after the court’s verdict.

“That is one alternative that is on the table. The ruling is a very serious attack on our investments,based on the licence framework that was spelt out in 2008,” chief executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas told Reuters. Sistema-Shyam said it would consider legal recourse after the verdict. “The company would like to state that being a law-abiding organisation,it reserves the right to protect its interests by using all available judicial remedies,” the company.

Idea Cellular claimed that it had requested the industry tribunal to separate its application for a licence from those of other service providers in 2007-08.

“ It is unfortunate that a serious incumbent operator like Idea Cellular is being made to suffer due to this cancellation of licenses,despite being fully compliant at each stage of the license allocation process,” Idea said. Idea,which has a partnership with Spice Telecom,will lose 4 per cent of its revenue and 5 per cent of its capital spending.

Sibal said the government would seek “full clarity” on industry rules and would frame its policy for the sector at the cabinet level.

He said: “On the pricing issue,we will go to the cabinet so that there’s full clarity. With the Supreme Court’s decision,at last we have put an end to the confusion out there in the market.” The minister also sought to assure the customer of the companies affected that they would not suffer from the legal woes of their networks.

Sibal said: “The Supreme Court by its order has also made sure that the customers are not affected. Why? Because this order will not be operative for a period of four months. In the meantime the Trai will give recommendations and we will auction the spectrum. So our customers will not be impacted.”

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