Aggrieved by the cancellation of three of its licences by the Supreme Court, Tata Teleservices on Monday said it will file a review petition against the order as the company had applied for these licences more than 18 months before the 2008 licensing process began.
TTL’s three licences for Assam, the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir were cancelled as part of the 122 2G licences issued by former Telecom Minister A. Raja in January 2008 on the basis that these were illegal.
“TTL had applied for these three licences 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 a redressal on this point,” a company statement said.
At the same time, the company welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement that spectrum, a scarce national resource, will be allotted through auctions. “It has always been our view that spectrum has value and should be paid for,” it added.
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 favour of select operators or specific technologies, it should bring in greater transparency and fair-play into the telecom industry, the statement said further.
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.
At the time 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 crore, had 3,000 employees, about 100 offices, 33 million subscribers, 60,000 km of fibre, an NLD business, 38 per cent investments in Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited and 100 per cent investments in its tower subsidiary, the statement 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, the statement added.