DoT offers to give one broadband licence to Qualcomm

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

In a breather to Qualcomm, the Department of Telecom has offered to give one licence to the US chipmaker for broadband services.

The DoT has sent a letter to the company asking it to submit bank guarantee and non-conditional acceptance to the offer.

“Qualcomm had written to us offering a compromise that they are willing to take one licence instead of four. We have agreed to that offer and have sent them a letter asking them to complete the process required for getting the licence,” said a top DoT official.

The offer letter was sent to Qualcomm on October 10. However, it is still not clear as to how DoT will deal with the issue of Qualcomm not applying within the 90-day window period post the auction.

Qualcomm did not comment on the latest development. The company had won broadband spectrum in four circles of Mumbai Delhi, Kerala and Haryana on June 12, 2010. The company then floated four companies by the name of Wireless Broadband Services and approached the DoT for different licences in each circle.

Qualcomm's licence had been held back because its application did not fulfil the necessary conditions, according to DoT. The Department had said that the US company had applied for four different licences which were not permitted under existing licence rules. Secondly, the licences were applied under companies registered in India, which, the DoT says, were not introduced by Qualcomm Inc as its subsidiaries within three months of the auction.

Appeal with TDSAT

While the company maintains that it applied for licence on August 9, well within the 3-month period, the DoT was considering December 20 as the date.

The DoT sent a communication to the company in September rejecting the applications. By then Qualcomm offered a compromise formula of merging all its four ventures into one and then taking only one licence.

Separately, the company also filed an appeal with telecom tribunal. The Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal, on September 28, passed an interim order, restrained the DoT from allotting the BWA spectrum earmarked for Qualcomm to any other operator till further orders.

The TDSAT also stayed the government from forfeiting the bid amount of Rs 4,900 crore paid by Qualcomm to the DoT in the BWA auction last year. The DoT has been asked to file a reply to Qualcomm's plea within two weeks.

TDSAT posted the matter for next hearing on October 20.

Published on October 13, 2011

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