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Reliance Communications Gets A Breather, Tribunal Sets Next Hearing Over DoT Notice for September 10

In a relief to Reliance Communications, the telecom tribunal has told department of telecommunications not to take any follow-up action till the tribunal next hears an appeal filed by the troubled telecom operator against DoT’s licence cancellation notice on September 10.

This effectively means that the Anil Ambani-owned telco will get one more month to furnish bank guarantees worth Rs 774 crore to telecom department, which led to the strife between the two parties.

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Friday gave telecom department two weeks to file an affidavit and put its stance on record and then one week to RCom to file a rejoinder, according to lawyers present at the tribunal hearing.

Till then DoT cannot cancel the telco’s licences, they said.

The issue started when DoT issued two show-cause notices to RCom, threatening to cancel its licences in 14 circles and revoke spectrum allotted in 2013 and 2015. The telecom department in the notices cited breach of licence conditions and non-payment of spectrum dues.

RCom moved TDSAT against DoT’s notices and has told the tribunal in prior hearings that cancelling licences would push the telco back into insolvency since it would not be able to complete its deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm

RCom expects to raise Rs 18,000 crore from sales of wireless assets to Jio and real estate assets to Canada’s Brookfield, and reduce its Rs 46,000 crore debt by repaying lenders.

The telco told DoT that it will shortly furnish bank guarantees worth Rs 774 crore and sell spectrum to Jio, which will from then on, take care of all future liabilities associated with those airwaves. – ET

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