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ELP wins for Aircel & Dishnet; JSA, ALA lose for Tata, Reliance in TDSAT spectrum allocation petition

Economic Laws Practice (ELP), J Sagar Associates (JSA) and Aggarwal Law Associates (ALA) respectively advised telecom operators Aircel and Dishnet, Tata Teleservices, and Reliance Communications in their challenge before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) which was opposing grant of spectrum to the petitioners.

While ELP won the challenge for Aircel and Dishnet, JSA’s and ALA’s petitions for Tata and Reliance were rejected.

ELP Delhi litigation partner Kirat Singh Nagra, senior associate Monish Panda, associate manager Pranav Vyas and associate Kshitij Karjee acted for Aircel and Dishnet, which briefed senior advocate Meet Malhotra.

JSA Delhi partner Mansoor Shoket Ali acted for Tata and ALA partner Shally Bhasin Maheshwari acted for Reliance. Senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan argued for both Tata and Reliance.

Aircel and Dishnet had obtained a Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) under which they were entitled to a total spectrum of 6.2 Mhz in the Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) Technology, out of which they were allocated an initial spectrum of 4.4 MHz. When they applied for the remaining spectrum, the DoT didn’t respond and later opposed them in the TDSAT on the ground that a policy change has led the requirement of auctioning all spectrum and that the telecom operators were liable to pay a separate fee for the spectrum, than what they had paid for the UASL.

After hearing arguments between 13 and 24 January, the TDSAT ruled in favour of Aircel and Dishnet.

However Reliance and Tata which, according to PTI, had argued that the Supreme Court's cancellation of 122 licences in February 2012 in the 2G spectrum allocation case did not include their UASL licences, could not convince the bench chaired by Aftab Alam that their UASL licences had not “come under cloud”.

TDSAT said that the case of Aircel and Dishnet is different from Reliance and Tata because Aircel and Dishnet were “original GSM operators”, whereas Reliance and Tata were “initially basic service operators”, added the PTI report.

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