COAI decides against challenging spectrum auction rules

16 February 2015

The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI), the apex body of telecom operators on the GSM platform, has decided not to file a unified court appeal seeking a stay on the spectrum auction scheduled for 4 March; but has left it to individual operators to do so if they wish.

The cellular operators are unhappy with what they see as several anomalies in the Notice Inviting Application (NIA).

The government has refused to meet certain demands of telecom firms. COAI was in consultation with its lawyers on the issue. Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI, did not elaborate on the reason for not taking legal recourse but stated that individual operators would follow their own strategy.

There is already a case in the Supreme Court (SC) filed by Vodafone India for the extension of its 20-year-old licences in six circles by another 10 years. Vodafone's licence is due to expire in December 2015.

The petition of the British telecom firm's Indian arm in the apex court has sought an interim direction for restraining the Department of Telecom (DoT) from auctioning airwaves in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (east) and Rajasthan. The decision on this case is still pending. If the final order is in favour of India's third largest telecom player, then it could jeopardize the government's scheduled auction.

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