DoT clears 3G spectrum hurdles

By : |June 2, 2009 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a move that removes all hurdles to global telecom firms to bid for third generation mobile (3G) spectrum, an internal panel of the Department of Telecom has decided to close a six-year-old case against international majors including AT&T, BT (formerly British Telecom), Equant and MCI Worldcom for alleged evasion of licence fee and service tax.

While it is not clear on who will actually bid for 3G spectrum, a clean chit from the DoT panel on the issue has removed possibilities of any legal complications later on for these multinational majors.

The issue dates back to 2003 when it was alleged that the foreign telecom players including AT&T Communications Services India, Equant and MCI Worldcom India were selling managed data network services to corporates in India without taking any licence from DoT.

It was alleged that these companies had got into a partnership with Indian operators, including Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (now Tata Communications), Reliance Communications and Bharti, to bypass paying local taxes and levies. The companies were hauled up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT for allegedly violating foreign direct investment norms and also for depriving the national exchequer.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

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