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Spectrum auction impasse

New Delhi, Jan. 3: The empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on telecom today could not finalise the rules for the upcoming spectrum sale and sought more time to understand the legal implications of forcing mobile operators, whose licences are set to expire in 2014, to participate in the auction as “new entrants”.

If the new norms are brought into force, Vodafone and Bharti Airtel will have to “compulsorily” participate in the spectrum sale in March-end if they plan to continue operations in Delhi and Mumbai after 2014.

Vodafone has written to the department of telecom (DoT) not to change licence conditions and to renew permits for another 10 years.

Analysts say the proposed rule on “compulsory” bidding can be legally challenged by the incumbents, citing existing licence norms. DoT officials said licence norms could be changed or modified by the government.

The panel of ministers, headed by finance minister P. Chidambaram, will meet again on January 7.

 
 
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