New Delhi: The Supreme Court yesterday said all telecoms operators whose licences were cancelled and who had not bid for fresh licences should stop their services immediately.
The direction also applies to telecoms operators who participated in the November 12, 2012 bidding and were unsuccessful.
The apex court bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice K S Radhakrishnan also said that the order of auctioning airwaves did not apply to the 900 MHz band. This was a virtual turnaround from its earlier position that spectrum in 900 MHz band too should have been auctioned.
The government had auctioned spectrum in 1,800 and 800 MHz bands in the last round of auctioning of licences that were cancelled by the apex court on February 2, 2012. The next round of auctions is scheduled for March 2013.
The court also clarified that 83 licences of Tata Teleservices were not covered by its February 2, 2012, order cancelling 122 2G licences issued on or after January 10, 2008.
While asking the telecoms service providers who did not participate in the November 12, 2012 bidding for cancelled 2G licences to cease their operations, the court expressed its unhappiness with the government affidavit on auction.
It said the affidavit did not reveal the quantum of spectrum that was being placed on the block for auction. “We make it clear that 541 MHz of spectrum in 1,800 and 800 MHz band freed up by the cancellation order will have to be auctioned,” the court told the government.
The government had auctioned half of the spectrum that became available on account of cancellation of 122 2G licences in 22 circles.
While reserving its orders on other issues, including on the price that service providers would be paying for continuing their services beyond four months after their licences were cancelled, the court said that orders would be passed on March 12.