DoT pushes for brief licence extension for metro operators

8 Dec 2014

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has agreed to allow wireless operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India an extension to their permits in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai to limit disruption as the cellcos reconfigure their networks to their new frequency bands, the Economic Times writes. The Telecom Commission is set to meet today and is expected to ratify the DoT’s plans. Under the proposal, the cellcos will have their existing spectrum rights extended until 15 December in Mumbai and Kolkata, and until 14 January in Delhi, in order to allow time to reconfigure their networks to their new spectrum allocations. In its note to the Telecom Commission, the DoT explained its decision which is designed to: ‘To avoid large-scale disruptions to networks which may cause inconvenience to millions of subscribers and in public interest.’ Both operators were left in the lurch by the DoT, receiving their new spectrum allocations for the metro circles with less than a month to reconfigure their networks before their existing licences expire – a process the duo claim should take six months to complete. The new spectrum was acquired in February this year, but delays from the DoT left the operators with weeks to alter their systems, rather than the months that they had anticipated. The cellcos’ licences ended on 29 November, but the duo have not returned the spectrum.