Birla Group refused Mumbai mobile licence, papers say

30 Nov 2006

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has refused to grant a Mumbai mobile licence to start-up operator Aditya Birla Telecom because its parent company Aditya Birla Group already operates in the region via another subsidiary, Idea Cellular, according to the Economic Times. Aditya Birla Telecom and Idea Cellular both applied for the Mumbai spectrum at the start of this year, but only Idea has been granted frequencies. Aditya Birla Group owns 65% of Idea Cellular via Aditya Birla Nuvo, Birla TMT Holdings, Grasim Industries and Hindalco Industries. Aditya Birla Nuvo also holds 99.97% of the equity in Aditya Birla Telecom. ‘Two licences cannot be issued where a single company, Aditya Birla Nuvo, is having more than 10% stake in the applicant company as well as in Idea Cellular,’ the DoT reportedly said in its rejection letter.