Idea asks DoT to consider licence surrender

22 Jul 2008

Indian cellco Idea Cellular has announced it may consider surrendering existing wireless licences, should it encounter regulatory hurdles in its acquisition of a 40.8% stake in Spice Communications. Following the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) stating it would review the acquisition, Idea is understood to have written to the regulator regarding its universal access service licences (UASL) for the Punjab and Karnataka regions, where Spice already operates. DoT guidelines currently restrict operators which hold licences for the same region from merging for a period of three years from the date a licence is granted. Idea is understood to have asked for the licence fee charged by the DoT to be returned, should the regulator decide that it must give up its licences. Spice may also consider its new UASL licences for the Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra circles, as Idea has a presence in these regions. The DoT has not announced a date for its ruling on the matter.