New Delhi: Amendments to licence agreements of existing operators of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have been approved by the Telecom Ministry to harmonise them with spectrum auction rules of November 2012, sources said.
"Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has approved amendments to the licences of Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular on June 6," a DoT source said. "NIA (Notice Inviting Application) provides for amendment to the existing licence agreement of the successful bidders. Accordingly licence agreement of the existing licencees (Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular) who have won spectrum in 2012 auction need to be amended to incorporate terms and conditions," the source said.
The condition for using spectrum won in November auction are viewed as more liberal compared to spectrum allocated to telecom operators under previous permits. As per current norms, the spectrum won by telecom operators can be shared with other telecom operator holding permit to provide services in the same area.
Government has also allowed telecom operators to use these airwaves for services by deploying any technology as per their business case. The draft amendments were vetted and approved by Ministry of Law and Justice on May 30, sources said.
In November 2012, Airtel won spectrum in Assam service area for Rs 8.67 crore. Idea Cellular won airwaves in Assam Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata, North East, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal service area for Rs 2031.31 crore.
Vodafone won spectrum in around 14 service area- Assam Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East and West, Maharashtra, North East, Orissa, Punjab and West Bengal, for Rs 1,127.94 crore.
While Airtel made up front payment for the spectrum, Vodafone and Idea Cellular opted for installment scheme to pay for the spectrum price.