India has started scrapping 2G licences

The 2G spectrum investigation in India seems to be falling hard on few telcos as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has started the process of cancelling telecom licences.

The DoT is believed to have issued notices to Etisalat DB on the licence cancellation in Delhi and Mumbai circles. The telco has failed to roll out services in these circles.

Etisalat DB has confirmed the news. Etisalat DB was granted spectrum in 2008. This is the second show cause notice issued to the telco, following the March 7 notice. Highly placed DoT sources said that some other companies are also in line for losing the licence.

The grounds on which notices have been issued are little different from the 2G spectrum scam. Earlier, the notices were issued to telcos on failing to meet eligibility norms for getting a licence. In both occasions, 60 days notice period has been given.

It’s likely the DoT is likely to issue similar notices to other companies on same grounds. The telecom regulator, TRAI had earlier recommended cancelling licences of Uninor in 8 circles, Loop Telecom in 14 circles and 4 circles of Aircel.

Among these telcos, Aircel has been in the business for five years in a few circles, Uninor entered in 2010 and Loop Telecom has rolled out its services in Mumbai last year.

Apart from Aircel, other telcos haven’t managed to build a considerable subscriber base. Sources suggest that S-TeL and Videocon could also face the axe as they are believed to have not met eligibility norms.

TRAI had earlier recommended scrapping 69 telecom licenses across different circles on the grounds of failure to rollout services and ineligibility.

Back in November 2010, TechEye reported that the new Indian union telecom minister, Kapil Sibal had decided to crack down on 80 licences which were identified as ineligible to have won and about 38 companies were then allegedly falling under the category of not meeting roll-out obligations.