Telecom tribunal TDSAT today reserved order on maintainability of Reliance Communications’ plea alleging discrimination against the existing CDMA operators by the government in the proposed auctions saying they are being allowed to bid only for one block.
A TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha reserved the order after hearing the Anil Ambani group firm and the sectoral regulator TRAI
Meanwhile, DoT failed to appear before TDSAT and present its side despite being issued a notice by the tribunal on last hearing to appear before it.
During the proceedings, the bench asked from the RCom’s counsel whether guidelines framed by the government can be challenged before it or not as it was not a dispute between a licensee and a licensor.
The TRAI act empowers TDSAT to adjudicate a dispute between a licensee (operator) and a licensor only.
RCom, in its petition has submitted that as per the DoT’s circular of July 3 this year, the government would allot two blocks of 1.25 Mhz to existing GSM operators in the proposed auction, while the CDMA can bid for one only.
Rcom in its petition said that with only one block of 1.25 Mhz in 800 Mhz band the CDMA operators “will not be able to get even the license mandated 5Mhz of spectrum in various circles, while the existing GSM operators can get additional 2.5 Mhz spectrum through auction and go even beyond the license mandated quantity of 6.2 Mhz in some of the circles”.
The Supreme Court has said in its order that the spectrum should be auctioned on the market price.
RCom submitted that it was not against the auction but that the guidelines issued by DoT should be revised to allow a level-playing field between the existing GSM and CDMA operators.
It has requested TDSAT to declare the clause related to block allocations as “arbitrary and discriminatory in nature and quash them”.