The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to DoT, Tata Teleservices Ltd and others on two different petitions filed by Idea Cellular and Cellular Operators Association of India challenging the government's decision to restrict the sale of airwaves in the upcoming auctions and seeking a direction to the government to sell all airwaves vacated as per the February 2 judgment.
While the order freed up 514.8 MHz of second generation airwaves on a pan-India basis, the government has decided to limit the sale to 302.5 MHz. The auction is scheduled to begin on November 12.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi while seeking reply from DoT and other telecom operators clarified that any hearing on the issue should not hamper any auction process scheduled on November 12.
The government “has illegally reduced the quantum of spectrum put up for auction in violations of the judgment that has created an artificial scarcity of spectrum,” the Aditya Birla Group company said, adding that the spectrum being auctioned is far less than they got back due to the cancellation of the telecom licences.
The service provider stated that that putting the entire freed up spectrum of 514.8MHz in 1800 MHz band served public interest as the government can generate maximum revenues for the public exchequer and this would also promote competition which in turn would benefit subscribers, Idea Cellular and its shareholder Manish Akant said in its petition.