Spectrum: SC disposes COAI writ petition

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 13, 2013 17:04 hrs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday acknowledged Cellular Operators Association of India's (COAI) prayer and disposed off the writ petition filed by the body, thereby enabling the auction of the entire quantum of quashed spectrum i.e. 514.8 MHz.

This would essentially comprise of the entire spectrum withdrawn by the government in lieu of the 144 cancelled licences as per the Supreme Court's order dated Feb 2, 2012.

The COAI expressed its satisfaction at the ruling.

COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews said, "This brings clarity on the issue and is a welcome move for an industry which faces acute shortage of spectrum and is below par in terms of availability and utilisation of the precious resource on an international scale. Freeing up the spectrum would enable better quality, outreach and delivery of services to the consumers.

"It will also ensure that a valuable resource like spectrum is used optimally and does not lie unused and wasted."

The COAI counsel had pointed out that the order dated Feb 15, 2013 is clear and the Supreme Court had mandated that the entire quantum of quashed spectrum i.e. 514.8 MHz of spectrum must be put to auction.

"The COAI counsel also handed over the letter written by COAI asking DoT to comply with the order dated 15.02.2013 of the Supreme Court. After hearing both the parties, the Supreme Court, while disposing off the writ petition, referred to the prayers of the writ petition and stated that the order dated 15.02.2013 is clear and that no fresh orders have to be passed," said the COAI.

The COAI was constituted in 1995 as a registered, non-governmental society dedicated to the advancement of communication, particularly modern communication through Cellular Mobile Telephone Services.

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