Uninor calls on TDSAT in matter of alleged failure to meet rollout deadlines

5 Jan 2011

Indian mobile network operator Unitech Wireless, which offers services under the Uninor banner, has enlisted the assistance of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) sought damages from the cellco for not meeting its rollout obligations. According to India’s Business Standard, while Uninor has, under protest, paid liquidated damages for failing to meet rollout deadlines in four circles, it has yet to make payments for a further six circles. The mobile operator has reportedly challenged the DoT’s demand notice, which was issued on 14 December, and senior advocates Meet Malhotra and CA Sundaram, appearing for Uninor, claimed that the regulator has made an error in calculating the period for the rollout time, while also arguing that the cellco had not been given an opportunity to put forward its account of the matter. Further, it has also been claimed that the hold-up in inaugurating service was the result of delayed action of the DoT, and not as a result of Uninor’s inaction. ‘It is the DoT that is singularly and solely responsible for delaying, and causing the delay in meeting the rollout obligations — by delay in SACFA (Standing Advisory Committee for Frequency Allocation) clearance, delay in allocation of the complete start up spectrum and introducing new and onerous mandatory requirements,’ noted Uninor. The operator has claimed that if the date of spectrum allocation and delay in obtaining SACFA clearance were properly calculated then it would not be liable for the financial penalties.

India, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Telenor India