New Delhi: Vodafone on Monday moved telecom tribunal TDSAT challenging a DoT's guideline that directs existing players to pay the amount to be discovered through spectrum auction for being able to use any technology for providing telecom services.
Terming the DoT guideline as taken "without application of mind, unfair, unreasonable, unjust, unconscionable, arbitrary", Vodafone has requested TDSAT to "strike down and quash the impugned decision of the DoT".
The Department of Telecom, in the guidelines for auction of spectrum, has said that service providers may be allowed to convert their existing 1800 MHz spectrum (used for 2G services) to liberalised spectrum for a period of 20 years on payment of the auction-determined price.
A liberalised spectrum means the airwaves could be used for providing any service within the scope of respective service licences using any technology.
The guidelines were issued by DoT following TRAI's recommendation on 'Auction of Spectrum'.
Regulator Trai had observed that telecom spectrum, at present, is not liberalised which means operators can deploy only specific technology in the airwaves assigned to them.
In India, 2G GSM services are being provided using airwaves in 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz frequency band and CDMA services in 800 Mhz band.
"Technology neutrality is enshrined in our licences and there is simply no justification to require us to pay an auction-discovered price for the permission to do what we are already entitled to," Vodafone India's Resident Director TV Ramachandran said in a statement.
The proposed minimum price for a liberalised spectrum is over Rs 18,000 for pan-Indian business and existing operators can pay around this amount after adjusting the price they have already paid for spectrum.
Vodafone in the petition said that that DoT and TRAI both have expressed several times that spectrum is already technology neutral and its services could be operated in any technology in the given band.
Vodafone's petition may come for hearing before a Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Bench on Thursday this week.
It has also requested TDSAT to pass and interim order to "restrain DoT from giving effect to and/or implementing the impugned decision" related to liberalisation of spectrum for existing spectrum till the final order is passed by the tribunal on the petition.


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