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Supreme Court Extends 2G Auction Deadline Till 11th Jan 2013; Implications

The Indian Supreme Court has extended the 31st August 2012 deadline for conducting fresh 2G spectrum auctions to 11th January 2012, following the Indian government's plea, reports PTI (via Outlook). The Court has also allowed service providers whose licenses were cancelled following the Court's verdict in the 2G scam case, to continue operations till 18th January 2013, extending the earlier deadline of 7th September 2012. According to the report, the Court has warned the government that it would initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against its officials and impose exemplary costs if the auction was not conducted within the time frame prescribed by the Court. The government had filed an application in the Court asking for time till 12th November 2012 to commence the 2G auction and for an additional 40 days for the process, including allocation of licenses and spectrum, as reported by Zee news. Following the government's filing of an affidavit giving an undertaking that the 122 2G spectrum licences which were cancelled by the Supreme Court's  judgement  in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, giving an assurance that the auctions will be conducted in a time-bound manner, the Court granted extra time. Implications: - This would mean that operators like Uninor and MTS, who were to discontinue services on 7th September, will need to operate till January, which would mean an increase in cost. Telcos like Uninor had already decided to focus on select pofitable circles, in the wake of the new auctions. MTS had decided to halt investments in voice business. - There's also…

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