Supreme court ruling results in Spice’s licenses in Punjab and Karnataka going to Idea Cellular

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Idea Cellular is celebrating as the Department of Telecom has transferred telecom operator Spice's licenses in Punjab and Karnataka to it. “The DoT has, on February 1, 2014, transferred the licences for Punjab and Karnataka service areas held by erstwhile Spice Communications Limited to Idea,” is what Idea Cellular stated in a statement issued by it.

Idea Cellular also said that the same was subject to the outcome of Idea's petition at TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) in which it challenged the penalties which were levied on it in connection of it acquiring Spice which remain stayed. Idea is pursuant in submission of an undertaking to DoT and court to the effect that just in case Idea is held liable to pay penalties, then DoT would be free to invoke Idea's bank guarantees.

When Idea acquired Spice telecom in 2010, it took up 41.09 percent share in it and the same led to violation of rules which stated that one operator couldn't acquire more than 10 percent share in other telecom operators' business. It led to overlapping of  licenses and consequent cancellation. This led to DoT slapping a fine of 600 crores on Idea it appealed against the same. Now the company can also use its 3G spectrum it won in auction in 2010 for Rs 322 crore.

Now Idea can also launch 3G services in the impacted area which was pending since long time.

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