The Supreme Court has said that all telecom spectrum that were quashed should be put to auction again, reports CNBC-TV18's Malvika Jain. The apex court also ordered that unsuccessful bidders in November 2G auction should stop operations forthwith.
Telecom companies like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone have been maintaining that the government is creating an artificial scarcity of spectrum by only putting small number of blocks to auction. How this is going to pan out is something that remains to be seen because for the next round of auction that is beginning March 11, notice inviting applications (NIA) have already been issued. The government has already indicated how much spectrum is going to be put to auction.
Senior government sources said that they are still studying the order and cannot comment at this stage. The Supreme Court also said that the 900 MHz band spectrum is not a subject matter of the 2G cancellation order dated February 02, 2012 and for that telecom companies will have to approach some other forum.
The third most significant thing in this order was that the telecom companies which did not bid in the previous round of auctions, concluded in November will have to stop their operations and pay the reserve price for the period between end of the auction in November till date.
However, significant point to note here is that Sistema Shyam has moved a separate petition seeking further extension of its licenses and has indicated its intent to participate in the next round of auction. There is going to be a separate order but for the other companies who did not bid in the November auction it seems to be end of the road.
The government had indicated that any company who wishes to participate in the March auction may be given an extension administratively.
Senior government official sources indicate that they must have another round of auction before March 31 because it wants to meet its fiscal deficit target. So definitely it seems that there is going to be an auction in March.