Indian regulator plays tough over revoked licences

27 March 2012 |

According to reports, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to deny carriers a refund of their licence fees if they lose or surrender permits.

The move could be a major blow to companies affected by an Indian Supreme court ruling that saw 122 2G licences awarded in February revoked.

The news closely follows local reports that Telenor, one of eight carriers affected in the ruling, was seeking nearly $14 billion in damages. According to the Times of India, Telenor is demanding a solution within six months or will seek an international arbitration for failure to protect its investment in the country.

The Indian government has placed pressure on the TRAI to offer some resolutions for carriers looking to exit the Indian market.

Under existing rules in India, the one-time entry fees paid by operators when winning licences are non-refundable. Telecom licensees are also allowed to surrender licences by giving notice of at least 60 days. In draft proposals released on Monday, the TRAI appears to be planning to recommend to the government that this continues to be the case.