India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is understood to have sought a legal opinion on its options regarding the possible cancellation of those concessions granted since 2003 to cellcos that subsequently failed to meet the rollout conditions of their licences. According to India’s Economic Times, the regulator, having recently sent notices to a number of operators regarding either irregularities in the licence application process or a failure to adhere to terms of their concession, said that while some faced only fines, it was considering revoking the concessions of some. Commenting on the matter, DoT secretary R. Chandrasekher noted: ‘What we are going to do is examine from legal provisions to see what is the liability.’
The development comes after reports that the DoT two weeks ago had issued 119 show-cause notices to licensees for failing to roll out their infrastructure within a year of having been handed their licences. The maximum fine for a year of default is understood to be INR70 million (USD1.5 million) per telecom circle, while those cellcos that had taken longer than a year to introduce commercial services could find their concession annulled. Operators have been given 60 days to respond to the regulator’s notices.