Loop Mobile to participate in auction for licence renewal
Despite Loop Mobile's legal tussle with the government, Khaitan Holdings Mauritius Ltd (KHML) -- the foreign investor in the company -- has indicated that it may participate in the third round of spectrum auction that is expected to be held by January.
New Delhi: Despite Loop Mobile's legal tussle with the government, Khaitan Holdings Mauritius Ltd (KHML) -- the foreign investor in the company -- has indicated that it may participate in the third round of spectrum auction that is expected to be held by January.
"Our current focus is on ensuring that our Mumbai operations continue to grow. We will be renewing our licence," KHML Vice Chairman Nalin Khaitan said.
"Our focus is to ensure continuity of our Mumbai operations and we will be renewing our licence and will be soon providing all kinds of 2G/3G and all kinds of data related services," he added.
KHML holds about 26.95 percent stake in Loop, which has over 27 lakh mobile customers in Mumbai, and rest of the stake is held by its Indian subsidiaries.
Khaitan said: "The Khaitan Holdings Group sees Indian markets as a long term investment destination. Even though the treatment given to us by UoI (Union of India) was disappointing.
"I am sure that sanity will eventually prevail and the government will take steps to attract investors into India instead of scaring them away."
Loop refrained from participating in the last two rounds of auctions held in November 2012 and March 2013. The government has decided that companies looking for renewal of their telecom licence will have to buy spectrum in auction.
Loop holds premium 2G spectrum in 900 MHz frequency band and its permit is expiring in November 2014. The frequencies held by Loop Mobile are to be auctioned as per the government plan alongwith spectrum held by other operators such as Airtel and Vodafone. Their licences expire at the same time.
All licences of another subsidiary of KHML, Loop Telecom, were also cancelled by the Supreme Court for which it has filed international arbitration against Indian government seeking damages of about USD 1.5 billion.
In February last year, the apex court had cancelled 122 licences of several companies in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
KHML has held three rounds of discussions with government for amicable solution but could not arrive at any conclusion.
Meanwhile, Khaitan said that reports of Loop Mobiles in talks to sell off its Mumbai operations is "merely market speculation. We are presently focused on operating and running the business and the renewal of the license in 2014".