2G spectrum license review: Uninor and MTS chalk out next move

Telecom Lead India: Indian telecom operators affected by
Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision against reviewing the cancellation of their
2G licenses have chalked out their next move. Uninor will move a curative
petition, while Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS India) is deliberating its
future course of legal actions.

“We will now move a curative petition and again urge
the Supreme Court to keep its order in abeyance until these arguments are seen
and appreciated by the new Bench,” Uninor said in a statement.

On February 2, the Supreme Court had cancelled 122
telecom licences given to various operators in 2008 under the then telecom
minister A Raja on the grounds that they were issued in a totally arbitrary and
unconstitutional manner.

While Uninor lost 22 of its licences, 21 licences of SSTL
were quashed.

“It is extremely disappointing to know that SSTL’s
review petition has not been accepted. To protect its interests further, SSTL
currently is in the process of deliberating its future course of legal
actions,” MTS India said in a statement.

The company said it will provide further comments after
studying Supreme Court’s order on the review petition in detail.

Uninor said it hopes the SC will ensure that no one has
any reason to hold grievance that their evidence was ignored, especially when
considering it would only strengthen the sanctity of any order.

According to Uninor, by entertaining the review petition
and hearing the case again, the SC would have been able to appreciate arguments
and evidence that challenges the very basis of its order. We are disappointed
that the Court has declined to do so.

With the dismissal of SSTL’s review petition, Sistema’s
$3.1 billion investment may be in jeopardy.

MTS India’s legal case was significantly different
compared to other mobile operators. SSTL said it had filed the review petition
to protect the interest of more than 16 million customers and investments of
over $3.1 billion.

Sistema said it reserves the right to begin proceedings
against India in an international tribunal if the dispute is not settled in an
amicable way by August 28, according to media reports.

Another operator, Tata Teleservices, whose three licences
were cancelled, did not offer any immediate comment.

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