Telecom tribunal TDSAT today directed the US-based chip-maker Qualcomm, which had opposed reduction in the validity of licence period and roll-out obligations on the wireless broadband spectrum allotted to it, to file rejoinder over the government’s response on it.
A TDSAT Bench asked Qualcomm to file its reply within a week and posted the matter on August 21 for orders.
Meanwhile, the Department of Telecom had yesterday filed its reply on Qualcomm’s plea over reduction in the licence period to 18 years and six months, from 20 years.
In the reply, the DoT contended that it was due to Qualcomm, which has delayed following the procedure of allotment of license and spectrum.
During the hearing, senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, representing Qualcomm, urged the tribunal to take a decision soon saying the matter required urgent attention.
According to him “the whole financing would have to be changed” if roll-out obligation is reduced.
DoT had reduced the validity of Qualcomm’s Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum to 18 years and six months, from 20 years.
Besides, Qualcomm’s roll-out obligation period was also reduced from five years to three-and-a-half years, which was challenged by the chipmaker before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal.
On July 16, TDSAT had granted 10 more days to DoT to file its reply on Qualcomm’s plea and had listed the matter for hearing today.
TDSAT had earlier issued notice to the DoT on June 1 directing it to file reply within four weeks.
Qualcomm had won the BWA spectrum in four circles — Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala and Haryana — for Rs 4,900 crore through bidding in 2010.
As per the Notice Inviting Application, companies had the right to use BWA spectrum for a period of 20 years from the date of awarding of spectrum block.
Qualcomm got the spectrum after differences with DoT which was taken up before TDSAT. In September 2011, DoT rejected its application for Internet Service Provider licence due to late submission and other technical reasons.
DoT had objected to Qualcomm’s application which had sought four licences in the name of different entities.
TDSAT ordered DoT to give the licence and allocate spectrum to the company after it cleared Rs 410 crore dues of its Indian partner Tulip Telecom.
On May 24, Bharti Airtel had announced a Rs 922 crore ($165 million) deal with Qualcomm Asia Pacific to acquire 49 per cent stake in Qualcomm Asia Pacific’s Indian BWA entities.