Vodafone India Ltd. (VIL), on Thursday, filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, challenging the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) decision to reject its applications for extension of licence in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata circles. Vodafone had filed extension applications for the three metro circles with the DoT in December, 2012.
As no decision was forthcoming from DoT, the company had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court for consideration of the licence extension applications.
Following this, the High Court had directed the DoT to consider the extension applications and give Vodafone an effective hearing. But the DoT rejected Vodafone’s applications for extension.
According to Vodafone, the “DoT arbitrarily rejected it without due consideration of the substantive points raised therein”. The existing licences end in 2014 as Vodafone had originally received the licences in 1994 for a 20-year period. DoT wants Vodafone and other old GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) service providers to bid for the spectrum that will be freed, and then continue with their service.
“Vodafone is taking all required actions, including legal, to ensure extension and continuity of its licences in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, as per the provisions of policy and licence and repeated assurances by DoT and Ministry in the past. Vodafone has been operating in conformity to all applicable laws, guidelines and regulations and remains committed to do so,” Vodafone India said in a statement.
Vodafone said it had the right to extension as both, applicable policy (NTP 99) and licence, provide for extension and continuity of licences.
“The 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum allocated to Vodafone is embedded in the licence and extension of licence necessarily means the extension of embedded spectrum,” it said.
The DoT, in its decision dated February 15, 2012, had already communicated that the validity of existing mobile licences might be extended for another 10 years at one time, as per the provisions of the extant licencing regime with suitable terms and conditions.
“Thus, the decision to extend licences has already been taken by DoT, and it is only the terms and conditions of extension that are to be decided,” Vodafone said.
The company said it was a long-term player, and was willing to pay a fair and reasonable price for the extension of its licences.