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The Supreme Court order on Thursday has created a window of opportunity for a segment of telecom companies to contest the government's plan to refarm the 900 mhz spectrum. Since February 2012, when the court order led to the cancellation of 122 licences, and the consequent empty slots in the airwaves, the government has been planning to bundle the allocation of airwaves in such a way that legacy issues are settled. The court order had impacted the players in the 1,800 mhz and 800 mhz bands, but had not touched those plying their trade in the 900 band. The logic was that they had come earlier and their operations were outside the purview of the fresh batch of licences given out since 2008.
But with past allocations, too, coming under question, the government raked in these bands as well. In any case, since, in the telecom business, the 900 mhz band has a better propagation characteristic, the operators coming in late had always claimed they suffered a disadvantage as they did not have the airwave space in this band to offer their services. The government was willing to buy this argument, and clubbing it with the issue of setting an auctioned price, had decided to set fresh allocation rules for this band too.
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