India’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is understood to have requested details on network rollouts and commercial launches by those operators that acquired mobile network licences between 2006 and 2008, the Economic Times is reporting. It has been claimed that the government has called for the information with a view to examining whether or not a number of operators met their rollout obligations, with an unnamed government official noting: ‘Concerns have been expressed on how some of these firms have been allotted spectrum, but are yet to roll out operations seriously. The government is examining the matter and we will be looking at all these details before we decide the next course of action.’ A total of eleven operators have been told to provide rollout details.
It has also been claimed that some of those companies that were approved to enter the mobile sector in 2008 have approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) with a view to surrendering licences on the proviso that the regulator refunds 90% of their licence fee.
Alongside the PMO’s interest in the matter, the Central Bureau of Investigation, Central Vigilance Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General are all already investigating the DoT’s awarding of new concessions in 2008. Telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja has also called for a meeting with all mobile operators on 7 July with a view to discussing a numbers of issues relating to the country’s mobile sector, during which it is expected that the matter of delayed rollouts will be considered.