The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), reheating its cold war against telecom operators on the CDMA platform, has petitioned finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for cancellation of dual-technology licences given to Tata Teleservices Ltd.
The COAI, which represents purely GSM-based companies including established players like Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, and Idea Cellular, has alleged in its missive that TTSL was favoured by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
The GSM lobby has argued that 141 licences need to be cancelled under the Supreme Court's 2 February order for and not 122, as was interpreted by both the industry and the government. The apex court had ordered the cancellation and resale of licences and spectrum awarded in 2008 under the tainted ex-telecom minister Andimuthu Raja, now facing trial for graft.
In its letter, COAI alleges that TRAI had excluded the GSM spectrum allotted to TTSL in 2008 in calculating the spectrum available for auction and that the "largesse" to TTSL would be worth over Rs20,000 crore.
Late on Monday evening, Tata Teleservices issued a strongly worded rebuttal terming COAI's stance as ''misleading, totally uncalled for, false and devoid of any merit''.
The CDMA operators, led by TTSL and including Reliance Telecom, had walked out of the COAI some three years back. Ratan Tata, chairman of his group, had issued a statement saying the body was dominated by established players like Airtel and Idea; and newer entrants had little or no say in its affairs.