TDSAT defers COAI hearing till Dec 12

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) today deferred till December 12 the hearing on the petition filed by GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) against the government's decision to allow usage of ''dual spectrum'' to telecom firms within the same licence.

The decision comes after the judge hearing the case felt that he should wait till the committee set up under the Additional Secretary (Telecom) by the Government reviews the recommendations of Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC).

The committee would recommend the revision of present 'Spectrum Allocation Criterion' to licensed operators based on the subscriber figures in a scientific and practicable manner and is expected to sumbit its report in three weeks.

GSM players had alleged that the Telecom Ministry's dual technology spectrum policy of October 19 will allow pan-India CDMA player Reliance to jump the queue of 575 applicants to stake its claim for precious GSM spectrum by paying an entry fee of Rs 1,651.57 crore.

COAI last week filed additional affidavits before the TDSAT, questioning the authenticity of the expert committee report and allocation of additional spectrum to state-run firms BSNL and MTNL.

In his letter to DoT secretary D S Mathur, the current head of CII and chairman of Bharti Airtel Sunil Mittal has already expressed an outrage.

This came against the backdrop of the DoT granting an 'in-principle' approval to the Telecom Engineering Centre's (TEC) recommendations that telcos be mandated to increase their subscriber numbers between four to 15 times before they are granted additional spectrum.

Meanwhile, Chennai-based Aircel has already withdrawn from the petition. It has been under the scanner for the FDI violations and holds 14 licences without spectrum.

The government, earlier, through its counsel Solicitor General G E Vahanavati, had assured TDSAT that no spectrum would be given to any player till November 12.

UNI

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