Sistema Shyam seeks temporary licence from DoT to continue biz
Sistema Shyam Teleservices has written to the government seeking a temporary licence, in case Supreme Court orders it to close operations, till the time auction process is completed.
New Delhi: Sistema Shyam Teleservices has written to the government seeking a temporary licence, in case Supreme Court orders it to close operations, till the time auction process is completed.
"In the event of any negative order from Hon'ble Supreme Court, we would request you to issue us temporary licences till such time the auction process is completed and spectrum along with new licences are issued to SSTL," the company said in a letter to Secretary, Department of Telecom.
As per the data of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the company had over 1.26 crore customers in 21 service areas that can be impacted by Supreme Court order. Last week, the apex court had asked telecom operators whose licences were cancelled by it in February 2012, and they failed to win spectrum or did not participate in the November auction, to close operations immediately.
SSTL said, however, that the Supreme Court order of February 15, 2013 for telecom firms does not apply to it and a separate order is to be issued for the company. It has informed DoT that the company's counsel has said in the court that "SSTL is desirous of participating in the upcoming auction".
The CDMA spectrum auction was not conducted in November, 2012 as there were no bidders for it. CDMA operators had cited high reserve prices for staying away from the auction. SSTL said, however, that it did not participate in the auction as the company was awaiting decision of the apex court on its curative petition, which was pending for hearing at the time of auction.
In the curative petition filed in May, the company had sought exemption from the Supreme Court judgement of February 2, 2012 but it was rejected by the court on February 14, 2013. SSTL spokesperson, after last week's order, had said: "The Honourable Supreme Court is going to give a separate order on the same (stopping of services). The said order is awaited."
Inability to bag spectrum in the November auctions and consequent scaling down of operations in many circles has meant that Aircel, Videocon and Uninor together lost 4.56 million GSM subscribers in January this year.
Now that Sistema's spectrum buying is over, all eyes will turn to the next course of action by DoT, which is expected to seek a Supreme Court directive on what to do with the unsold spectrum and whether to reduce price further.