It’s a no from me; DoT refuses extension for metro licences

29 Oct 2014

Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel have been refused an extension on their 900MHz concessions in the metro circles after an eight-month delay in allotting their new frequencies has left the duo with too little time to reconfigure their networks without disrupting services. The cellco’s current licences expire in late November and whilst they won spectrum to continue offering services in February 2014, the new frequencies are different to those being used at the moment, so the pair will require time to reconfigure their networks – a process the operators claim will take at least six months. However, the regulator has only allotted the new spectrum this week, leaving the duo with just a month to carry out the necessary work. The Economic Times quotes an unnamed Department of Telecommunication (DoT) official as saying: ‘These operators are seeking an extension of six months. However, if we do so, they will then effectively get an extension of a total of one year for the spectrum that they won in February. There could be some disruptions but the telcos would need to manage it.’ Consequently, mobile services for Vodafone and Airtel’s subscribers in the metro circles – amounting to more than 35 million customers – are expected to be disrupted over the next six months as the cellcos rush to alter their networks.