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Qualcomm to get Internet service license in India

Mobile chipset maker to pay license fee arrears to government to resolve dispute and proceed with plans to roll out wireless broadband services, says report.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

U.S. mobile chipset manufacturer Qualcomm can finally get its wireless broadband services plans off the ground in India, after it resolved a dispute with the local government regarding outstanding license fees owed by one the company's joint venture partners.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported last Friday that the company offered to pay 4.1 billion rupees (US$83.5 million) in license fee arrears owed by Tulip Telecom during a tribunal hearing, and the country's Department of Telecommunications had accepted the offer. The company will have to clear the outstanding amount within four weeks, after which it should receive its Internet license within a week, the report stated.

This decision resolves the dispute, which has been ongoing since June 2010, after Qualcomm paid over US$1 billion to clinch four bandwidth slots to launch high-speed Internet services. However, the telecom department rejected several of its applications due to various issues, with the last one being the arrears owed by Tulip Telecom.

Qualcomm did not offer any comments to WSJ, but Tulip said in a statement that it was not "party to the U.S. company's offer and that it hasn't accepted any liabilities". The provisional demands raised by the telecom department are "erroneous", it added in the report.

The country's telecom laws has been in a flux in recent times, with a new policy introduced just this month. This new set of guidelines will replace the previous one made in 1999 and touches on spectrum limits as well as separating telecom licenses from bandwidth ones, an earlier report stated.

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