Telecom majors Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea Cellular have approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to intervene in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) recommendation on 2G spectrum. The industry tribunal will hear the matter on 25 May.
On 11 May, TRAI had among other things recommended that operators pay a one-time fee for holding 2G radio-spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz based on 3G prices, a move that will hit established companies that are dominant on the GSM platform.
Telecom companies have been up in arms against the TRAI's recommendations on capping of spectrum in circles, cost for buying additional spectrum, and mergers and acquisitions. Bharti had charged TRAI with making recommendations tailor-made to benefit select operators.
Vodafone echoed those views, and added that the one-time spectrum fee could put the industry in jeopardy.
However, Reliance Communications and Etisalat DB, which operate on the CDMA platform, welcomed the move.
The three companies challenging the TRAI recommendations have asked the government to dump the report, which according to them are "retrograde" and "absurd". The GSM operators are also critical of capping the spectrum at 8 MHz in all circles except Delhi and Mumbai where the limit is 10 MHz, as they think it would restrict future growth prospects.