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India court rejects 4 operators' second appeal to regain 2G licenses

Sistema, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Videocon Telecommunications will lose their permits after India court rejected their application to reconsider earlier order to cancel their permits.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The Indian Supreme Court has for the second time rejected the appeals of four operators to revive their 2G permits which were previously revoked.

Four operators' curative petition to regain their licenses were rejected by the Indian court.

In a report Thursday, Wall Street Journal said the court rejected the appeals of Russian conglomerate Sistema and India-based operators Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Videocon Telecommunications, again.

The operators had filed an appeal last April but it was rejected. They then asked the court to reconsider the order through a curative petition but this was rejected on Thursday, the report said.

The four operators lost their 2G licenses after the Indian court decided to revoke 122 2G permits in February 2012 as it believed that the allocation process in 2008 was corrupted. The government put the licenses back for rebidding in November to lukewarm responses.

The report noted some of the operators managed to acquire bandwidth during the bidding. Idea bought back bandwidth in all the six service areas where it lost permits, while Videocon Telecommunications won bandwidth in six areas, it said.

It added Sistema and Tata Teleservices did not bid in the November auction. Sistema now only has license in just one telecom service area while Tata Teleservices lost three of its 22 permits.

Wall Street Journal said the rejection puts at risk billions of dollars invested in India by Sistema and Japan's NTT Docomo, which has a 26 percent stake in Tata Teleservices. The foreign companies had bought stakes in Indian firms which were allocated telecom licenses in 2008.

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