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Idea may face problems in getting 3G spectrum in Punjab
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Aditya Birla Group firm Idea Cellular, which has bagged 3G spectrum in 11 telecom circles, may not get permission to launch services in Punjab pending regulatory clearances post its acquisition of Spice Communications last year.

Idea won radio bandwidth in 11 service areas including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab for about Rs 5,769 crore in the recently held auctions for 3G spectrum.

The telco expects to launch third-generation, or 3G, mobile services in the October-December quarter.

Senior officials in DoT said that amendment of UAS licence of Spice for Punjab service area, for usage of 3G spectrum, may not be possible in the name of Idea till the licensor takes on record the merger of Spice and Idea.

Out of the 11 service areas, where letters of intent (LOIs) have been granted to Idea earmarking 3G spectrum, the company holds licences in 10 circles.

In case of Punjab, however, the UAS licence is being held by Spice.

The transfer of UAS licence of Spice for Punjab service area to Idea is presently under submission of the competent authority for a decision, the official said.

The merger of Idea and Spice in six overlapping service areas -- Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana -- in terms of provisions of the licence agreements and the guidelines for intra service area merger of licences, is presently under the submission of the competent authority for decision.

Out of the six overlapping circles, Idea has been issued LoIs in four overlapping service areas of AP, Haryana, Maharashtra and Punjab for use of 3G spectrum in the CMTS/UAS licences.

High courts of Gujarat and Delhi have approved merger of Spice Communications with Idea. The two high courts sanctioned the scheme of amalgamation of Spice Communications with Idea Cellular.
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