Idea to sell wireless licenses for $171m

04 May 2009

Indian operator Idea Cellular is reportedly planning to sell the wireless licenses for up to six of India\'s telecom circles.

Idea confirmed to DNA Money it was looking to divest spectrum in the circles of Punjam and Karnataka.

Sources close to the matter also told the news site that Idea was considering offloading redundant licenses in a further four circles.

The company recently acquired Spice Telecom, leaving it with extra licenses in each of the six circles.

Under India\'s current regulatory regime it is illegal for any operator to own more than one wireless license - a measure introduced to prevent spectrum hoarding. But the government has yet to make a ruling on a demerger. Idea has also repeatedly asked the department of telecom if it will be compensated for surrendering the licenses, but has yet to receive a reply.

Idea hopes to recoup around 8.5 billion rupees ($171 million) from the sale of the licenses.

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