Vodafone seeks license extension in India

Telco is hoping to extend its 900MHz bandwidth operating license in three telecom zones by another 10 years, despite the Indian government's intention to re-auction the spectrum once licenses expire.

Vodafone India is looking to extend its 900 megahertz (MHz) operating licenses for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata telecom zones by another 10 years. This is despite the Indian government earlier approving the proposal to re-auction the licenses after the existing ones expire in November 2014.

The Times of India reported Thursday the telco had invoked clause 4.1 of the license agreement, which states the government can extend the period of license by 10 years at one time if the request is made by the operator during the 19th year of the license period.

However, the licensor's decision on the matter "shall be final in regard to the grant of extension", which would indicate that Vodafone is at the will of the Indian government, it noted.

The government had earlier announced its intention to re-auction the 900MHz operating licenses once the band becomes available again, but it has yet to reveal the date for doing so. Operators may still hold 2.5MHz of spectrum in each telecom zone they had previously been operating in after paying a market-determined price, while the rest will be put to sale.

Vodafone India has around 24MHz spectrum in the 900MHz band in the three zones it is looking to renew operating licenses in, the report noted.

To the proposed re-auction, the telco said: "We respectfully submit that in our view, extension of license period is continuation of the already set up network, including continuation of existing spectrum, which is intrinsic to our license and is being used for providing service to the customers under the license."


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