Tata Teleservices’ 19 telecom permits are not included in the licences that Supreme Court found faulty and cancelled last year, according to a legal opinion sought by Department of Telecom.
Industry associations had represented to the government that the Supreme Court’s February 2012 order covered 141 telecom permits including 19 of Tatas, and not 122 2G licences.
Rejecting the views that Supreme Court order on 2G licences cancellation applied to 141 telecom permits, legal counsel representing government in the case said that court only cancelled 122 2G licences.
“The interpretation by various groups Assocham, TUG, COAI and MD, Idea Cellular of the judgement of February 2, 2012 of Hon’ble Supreme Court stating that 141 UAS licences ought to have been cancelled and not 122 licences as stated in TRAI recommendations is not correct,” Senior government counsel PP Rao, as per sources, told Department of Telecom.
Telecom User Group, GSM industry body COAI and Managing Director of Idea Cellular have written to DoT that the apex court judgement applied on 19 licences of Tata Teleservices as well and the total number of permits cancelled were 141 and not 122 as interpreted by government.
Assocham had later withdrew its representation on the matter.
Industry body Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, which represents dual technology based services providers, has countered interpretation of judgement against GSM permits of TTSL.
Mr. Rao also said, “There is no mention in the judgement of quashing approval given for usage of dual technology spectrum to existing licences that were granted licence before the issuance of two press releases dated January 10, 2008. Both TRAI and DoT have correctly understood the meaning.”
The apex court in the judgement said “The licences granted to the private respondents on or after 10.1.2008 pursuant to two press releases issued on 10.1.2008 and subsequent allocation of spectrum to the licensees are declared illegal and are quashed.”
Sources said, Mr. Rao opined the first release of DoT issued on January 10, 2008 was for issuing letter of intent to telecom companies for new licences and the second press release request companies who have applied for dual technology spectrum to collect DoT’s response on the same day.
The opinion further said that “the apex court only cancelled licences that were granted on or after January 10, 2008 and there is no mention in the judgement of quashing approval given for usage of dual technology spectrum to existing licences that were granted licence before the issuance of the two press releases.”
However, no immediate comments were received from entities involved in the matter.