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TMCNet:  Sistema, Telenor get breather from SC [Telecom] [Times of India]

[February 04, 2013]

Sistema, Telenor get breather from SC [Telecom] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court extended the deadline for shutting down mobile networks to March 11, the next date of hearing the case. The apex court was scheduled to hear the case on February 4, but changed the date to March 11 without specifying any reasons.



The extension would give a lifeline to Indian operations of Russia's Sistema and Norway's Telenor that were allowed to offer services till the previous hearing date. Both did not comment on the development. An executive with Sistema said without wanting to be named that as per its legal experts, the change in hearing date extended the validity of licences 'by default.' However, an executive from Telenor India said that 'it could be inferred' from the Court's earlier orders that licences stand extended but added that the company would wait for clarity from the telecom department. As per the court's earlier directive, all mobile phone companies whose permits were quashed in February last year were mandated to shut down their networks by February 4, unless they had obtained airwaves and new licences in the recently concluded auctions. A two-member bench of the apex court had also indicated that it may not extend the permits of mobile phone companies if they did not bid for licences in the upcoming airwaves sale.

The government intends to garner . 45,000 crore as revenue target from the second round of auctions slated to begin on March 11 as against . 9,400 crore it received from the dismal November auctions. If the likes of Sistema are successful in the next round, they will however be charged for airwaves from December 19, 2012, the date that is applicable to the winners of the November auction , DoT had said in its affidavit to the apex court last month.

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