Government returns licence fee to RCom for six circles

December 5th, 2008 - 10:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) The government Friday said it will refund the Rs.1.12-billion (Rs.112 crore) license fee Reliance Communications (RCom) paid to acquire dual technology spectrum in six service areas. The refund is on account of the company surrendering the permit for dual technology spectrum in the six circles where it already offers GSM services.

The government has so far not returned the entry fee to operators who had surrendered their licences. The terms and conditions for a unified access service licence also stipulate that the entry fee is non-refundable.

Explaining the decision to return the fee to RCom, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said this cannot be compared to earlier cases and a distinction has to be made between surrendering a licence and withdrawal of an approval.

The DoT said as it was withdrawing the in-principle approval given to RCom for dual technology in the six circles, it would be illegal to hold the fee.

RCom was granted approval for dual technology spectrum, which allowed it to operate on both platforms - GSM as well as CDMA - for 20 service areas.

Accordingly, RCom paid Rs.16.52 billion (Rs.1,651.57 crore) as entry fee for dual technology permission in these service areas.

However, as the company already had licence for GSM-based cellular services in six circles in the east, the government asked it to surrender the newly-acquired dual technology approval in these circles.

The DoT does not allow service providers to hold GSM spectrum under two different entities in the same circle.

Subsequently, RCom sought a refund of the entry fee for the six circles.

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