New Delhi: Even though
the Supreme Court Thursday ordered cancellation of 122 telecom
licences, customers will not be affected much as firms have been
given four months to cease operations, allowing ample time for an
arrangement so users can shift to another service provider.
Mobile number portability (MNP), which is in full force across the
country, will help customers migrate without much trouble to an
operator unaffected by the order.
"Basically, the time period of four months is the time for
government to decide to come up with a enhanced market mechanism.
After four months, as the licences of the firms are cancelled,
their customers will obviously have the choice of opting for
another player through MNP," Rajan Mathews, director general,
Cellular Operators Association Of India (COAI), told IANS.
The operators whose licences are to be cancelled include some
circles of Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Loop Telecom,
Videocon and S Tel.
But the order does not affect companies that were granted licences
before 2008; 3G services for which licences were auctioned will
also not be interrupted.
The apex court, while cancelling the licences said the whole
allocation process was done in an arbitrary manner. It slapped a
cost of Rs.5 crore each on Unitech, Swan Telecom and Tata
Teleservices and said half of that will go to the court's legal
aid services and the remaining to defence services.
Varying costs have been imposed on other companies also.