India’s Supreme Court messes with a bunch of operators, cancels their 2G licences
An interesting thing is happening in India regarding mobile network licenses. The country’s Supreme Court just quashed an appeal by several regional operators which were calling for a review of a controversial decision taken two months ago. That, basically, means that 122 regional 2G licenses have been revoked. And after this appeal, that order still stands.
According to the Court’s initial ruling in February, the 2G licenses have been cancelled because the awarding of those licenses in 2008 had been “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional”. The administration at the time is now being accused of selling the licenses on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, instead of opting for a series of auctions which would have netted the Indian government a lot more money for that spectrum.
The affected operators now have four months to effectively shut down their businesses. Some have already announced that they’re exiting the Indian market for good. And with such legal decisions, we can’t imagine they’ll be willing to go back any time soon.
This appeal ruling is almost the last hope for the carriers. The absolute last legal resort in this case is filing for a ‘curative petition’, asking the Court to reconsider the order once again. But judging from how the Supreme Court responded to this appeal, it’s unlikely that the telecom companies would get their way.
Carriers having their licenses revoked and being forced to shut down – that’s not something we hear every day in the mobile world. What do you think, is this a good decision?