DoT asks Idea to surrender licences for two circles

12 Aug 2008

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has told Idea Cellular that it must surrender the two universal access service licences (UASL) licences it holds for the circles of Punjab and Karnataka, also confirming that the cellco would not be refunded on their return. The move comes following Idea’s acquisition of Spice Communications, as the law prohibits operators from holding more than 10% stakes in two different licence holders in the same circle. Idea has responded by offering to demerge the licences for both circles in question into a separate entity, where it would not hold more than the 10% stake allowed. If Idea does return the licences as requested it would mean a loss of INR3 billion (USD71.2 million) for the cellco, the fee it had paid for the concessions in January 2008.