Free Press Journal

HC seeks govt reply on RCOM plea to auction more 1800 Mhz spectrum


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on Reliance Communication Ltd’s (RCOM) plea for directions to the government to increase supply of 1800 Mhz airwaves to be auctioned in an exercise scheduled to start from March 4. Reliance, in its plea before a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva, has contended that quantum of the spectrum being put up for auction is not as per TRAI recommendations and Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has “arbitrarily” “restricted” it.

The bench issued a notice to DoT and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and listed the matter for further hearing on February 27. The company has also sought directions to DoT to hold the auctions “only after it makes available additional spectrum in 1800 MHz band as recommended by TRAI”.

RCOM in its plea has said that government is only putting up for auction 177 Mhz of the 900 MHz spectrum for which licences of all telecom operators across India are expiring and if the companies are unable to win back the airwaves in the circles they currently have, they will have to stop services due to less quantity of 1800 MHz airwaves.

No additional amount of 900 Mhz spectrum is up for auction, it has said. The company, in its plea filed through advocate Mahesh Agarwal, has also said TRAI had recommended putting on auction the unused 1800 Mhz spectrum given to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to increase supply of the airwaves, but DoT is not accepting the recommendation to increase price of the 900 Mhz spectrum.

TRAI had also recommended putting up for auction around 55 Mhz spectrum obtained through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Defence Ministry but DoT is not doing so, the company has said in its plea.