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DoT to soon settle merger/transfer of licences in M&As

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The will settle all issues related to merger and transfer of licences in the telecom sector on a priority basis, an internal note of the ministry said.

"In the last two years there has been consolidation in the telecom industry involving Vodafone-Idea, Bharti Airtel-Telenor, -Bharti Digital Networks Pvt Ltd, Bharti Airtel-Teleservices and Bharti Airtel-services. All issues related to the merger/transfer of licences to be settled ," said a DoT note on M&A, indicating these top its agenda over the next few months.

The note did not give further details as the roadmap on settling those issue would be worked out shortly. But the settlement is not likely to touch on the spectrum dues part which is already with the telecom tribunals. But all other glitches, which needs to be ironed out at the DoT end, will be looked at, sources said.

Out of all the listed M&As, the Vodafone-Idea, Airteland Airtel-Teleservices mergers have seen skirmishes between DoT and the operators over the spectrum dues of previous licensee period prior to the merger. In the other three cases -- Airtel- Telenor, Airtel-Teleservices and Vodafone-Idea merger cases, the matter has landed at the tribunal, TDSAT.

Recently, TDSAT partially stayed the Rs 8,300 crore demand by DoT from for Tata Tele merger and directed "the authorities concerned to take the merger of two and licence on record", subject to stay on one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) demand of around Rs 7,000 crore.

The department had earlier asked Airtel to submit a of around Rs 7,000 crore and immediate payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore before it takes merger of Airtel and Tata consumer mobile business (CMB) on record.

For Idea merger, India and paid DoT a sum of Rs 7,268 crore in July 2018 that was sought as a key condition for approving their merger. Out of this, Rs 3,926.34 crore was paid to the telecom department in cash and a of Rs 3,322.44 crore was also furnished, says

In October 2018, the telco moved the telecom tribunal to recover worth Rs 3,322.44 crore that was paid "under protest" to get the government's nod for the merger.

For Airtelmerger also, the approval came within a week of order that quashed the DoT petition seeking security deposit of around Rs 1,700 crore and directed it to clear the merger. The guarantee included Rs 1,499 crore for one-time spectrum charge for the radiowaves allocated to Airtel without auction, and over Rs 200 crore for spectrum payment which Telenor has to make.

While Telenor Airtel and Idea mergers have happened, the Airtel-TTSL merger is pending.

(Anjana Das can be contacted at anjana.d@ians.in)

--IANS

ana/prs

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 19 2019. 11:10 IST
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