The department of telecommunications (DoT) has agreed to a 45-day extension, till January 14, 2015, to Bharti Airtel and Vodafone for migrating to new frequencies. This decision has been made because the 20-year licence for 900 MHz for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles lapsed in November, 2014.
The Dot clarified that the reason for its decision is to avoid large-scale disruptions to networks which may cause inconvenience to millions of subscribers and in public interest, "the joint proposals by the operators "may be considered.
Nevertheless, this move will come as a relief to millions of users in Delhi and Mumbai circles who may have had to face service disruptions otherwise.
In a note, the DoT has recommended to the telecom commission (the highest decision-making body at the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that it has "no other" alternative but to agree to the operators' request for a 45-day extension in Delhi and 15 days in Mumbai. The companies sought the extra time to migrate to new frequencies that were allotted by the telecom department as late as October, leaving them just over a month to complete the changeover.
In the meantime, the commission is programmed to meet on December 8, 2014. Previously, the operators had blamed DoT for delaying allotment of new spectrum which they had bagged in the auctions held in February and demanded more time for the switchover.
While in Delhi, Bharti Airtel retained 5 MHz of the 8 MHz which it had earlier bagged in the February auction. In the same way, Vodafone also gave up 2 MHz of 900 MHz spectrum in Delhi from 8 MHz to 6 MHz. On other hand, Idea, which did not have 900 MHz band of airwaves, now has 5 MHz.