DoT threatens to revoke 2G licenses

Dylan Bushell-Embling
30 Nov 2010
00:00

India's new telecom minister Kapil Sibal has called on companies holding 85 disputed 2G licenses to justify ownership or have the spectrum revoked.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) will send show cause notices to the owners of the licenses, giving them 60 days to respond to the department's concerns, Sibal told a press conference Monday, the Business Standard.

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Based on the responses, the DoT will then decide whether to cancel the licenses or issue fines.

The owners acquired their licenses through a controversial spectrum allocation in 2008, overseen by Sibal's predecessor A Raja.

Raja, who was forced to resign earlier this month, is accused of costing the government up to up to 1.76 trillion rupees ($38.4b) by allotting the frequencies directly instead of through an auction. The department is also alleged to have allowed participants to submit doctored or falsified applications.

While Sibal did not name any intended recipients, based on the companies named in audits and reports into the spectrum scandal, it is likely that at least Unitech Wireless (now Uninor), Loop Telecom, Swan Telecom (now Etisalat DB), S-Tel and Allianz Infratech will receive notices.

Sibal has also called for a probe into allegations the then-Swan Telecom was acting as a front company for cellco Reliance Communications. The company has denied the claim.

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