Telecom ministry approves license amendments of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea

Telecom Lead India: The telecom ministry — headed by Kapil Sibal — has approved amendments to license agreements of existing operators of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to harmonize them with spectrum auction rules of November 2012.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal approved amendments to the licenses of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular on June 6.

NIA (Notice Inviting Application) provides for amendment to the existing license agreement of the successful bidders. Accordingly license agreement of the existing licensees (Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular), who have won spectrum in the 2012 auction, need to be amended to incorporate terms and conditions.

The condition for using spectrum won in November auction are viewed as more liberal compared to spectrum allocated to telecom operators under previous permits. As per current norms, the spectrum won by telecom operators can be shared with other telecom operator holding permit to provide services in the same area.

Government has also allowed telecom operators to use these airwaves for services by deploying any technology as per their business case. The draft amendments were vetted and approved by Ministry of Law and Justice on May 30, PTI reported.

In November 2012, Airtel won spectrum in Assam service area for Rs 8.67 crore. Idea Cellular won airwaves in Assam Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata, North East, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal service area for Rs 2031.31 crore.

Vodafone India won spectrum in around 14 service areas – Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East and West, Maharashtra, North East, Orissa, Punjab and West Bengal, for Rs 1,127.94 crore.

While Airtel made up front payment for the spectrum, Vodafone and Idea Cellular opted for installment scheme to pay for the spectrum price.

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