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Indian Telecom Ministry revokes operator’s licences

The Indian operator Idea Cellular has had several of its licences revoked by the country’s telecoms ministry and incurred a fine of INR10 million (US$225,000) following a legal dispute.

The operator was accused by the ministry of “suppressing” information regarding its purchase of Spice Communications, and accordingly has been forced to rescind the licences that it obtained in this transaction.

Idea’s acquisition of Spice resulted in the firm holding two licences for certain telecom circles in India, which is illegal under the country’s competition laws. The operator stated that it had previously “approached the DOT regarding merger of overlapping licenses, or their surrender, both processes incidentally yielding the same outcome i.e. the spectrum returns to the government and no benefit to Idea.”

Idea has issued a statement claiming that it “stands upright, has not suppressed anything at all, let alone wilfully, and will appeal for what it believes is right”, adding that the licences in question were “non operational and had no attached subscribers.”

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