Tribunal disallows fee to make Sistema’s spectrum contiguous

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New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The government is under no contractual obligation to provide contiguous spectrum to a telecom operator, but Sistema Shyam has the right to seek alignment of its airwaves for continuity on terms allowed to other players, the industry tribunal has held.

Accordingly, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has struck down the contiguity charges of Rs.3,500 crore imposed by the Department of Telecom on Sistema Shyam.

Sistema’s contention was: Non-contiguous spectrum, despite it being liberalised, that is allowed to be traded of shared, cannot be used by a service provider to extend the next generation mobile services. It said it was deprived contiguity, despite paying huge sums in the 2013 auctions.

The said spectrum in the 800 MHz band was acquired by Sistema through auction conducted in 2013 for its eight circles, including Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (two circles), Kerala, Karnataka and Kolkata.

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