Supreme Court rejects licence extension pleas

9 Jan 2015

The Supreme Court has quashed appeals from Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel looking to block the inclusion of spectrum currently used by the duo in six and five circles respectively in next month’s auction, Live Mint reports. Both operators claim that they are entitled to an extension of ten-years on their existing concessions, with the price for the renewal determined by the auction. The cellcos are understandably concerned over their exposure in the upcoming sale, which is expected to be fiercely contested. Vodafone and Bharti, as well as Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications (RCOM) are facing ‘must-win’ situations in up to four operating areas; should they fail to purchase new concessions in these circles they will have no option but to close down operations there. Making matters worse for the operators, their situation is well-known to their competitors and several have indicated that they plan to bid aggressively in these must-win areas to drive up the spectrum costs for their rivals.

India, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India