Telecom tribunal declines to hear 2G fee case

Dylan Bushell-Embling
27 May 2010

India's telecom tribunal has thrown out a request by some of the nation's largest operators to force regulator Trai to abandon its planned additional 2G spectrum fees.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal rejected an appeal from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular to intervene in the dispute, Reuterssaid.

The operators had accused Trai's suggestion of being unfair and excessive. It would cost Bharti Airtel 40 billion rupees ($848.8 million) and Vodafone Essar 14 billion rupees, they said.

But the Tribunal has refused to intervene in the dispute, stating that Trai's proposals were recommendations and not final decisions.

The three operators have since withdrawn their appeal.

All three are now pondering their next moves, and may seek a court hearing if they decide to escalate the dispute. The tribunal reportedly gave the operators implicit permission to take the case to court.

Trai is proposing to levy a one-time charge proportional to the amount of 2G spectrum owned based on pricing determined by the recent 3G auctions.

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