Government to refund telecom firms losing licences

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 08, 2012 18:00 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) The Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom Monday decided to refund or adjust licence fees of companies whose licences stand cancelled following the Supreme Court's verdict on 2G spectrum allocation but have no criminal charges against them.

"Licence fee would be adjusted of those players who bid and win spectrum in the auction. Even if they do not participate or win, the money may be refunded," a senior Department of Telecom (DoT) official said.

"This is the best the government can do. Give succor to everybody. However, this would be valid only for those operators against whom there is no criminal liability," he added.

The apex court had Feb 2 ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences affecting firms such as Uninor, SSTL, Idea Cellular, Videocon, STel and Etisalat and asked the government to redistribute them through auction.

These players had paid around Rs.1,650 crore as their licence fees for 2G spectrum in 2008 to the government.

According to the official, the government might end up adjusting around Rs.8,25 crore given the number of licences that stand cancelled.

The government is expecting a substantial amount from the 2G spectrum auction in November this year. The reserve price for the auction has been kept at Rs.14,000 crore.

The official also said that the government is also mulling to give an option to the existing telecom firms to surrender license beyond 4.4 MHz and 2.5 MHz in case of GSM and CDMA, respectively.

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