News Roundup: RCom and Bharti Plan to Exit From Rural Telephony Scheme

RCom and Bharti, have approached the government seeking to prematurely exit from the rural telephony scheme under the USO subsidy without fulfilling the commitment they had made by winning bids in 2007 to provide telecom services in villages.

The government has an over Rs 14,000 crore corpus under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund [source]

CAG goes after another spectrum deal

The Comptroller and Auditor General has started inquiries into a 2005 agreement between ISRO arm Antrix and private company Devas Multimedia.

The agreement relates to ISRO’s launching of two satellites for Devas but automatically bestows on the latter a large hidden benefit: Of unbridled and 20-year use of 70 MHz of the scarce S-band spectrum. According to preliminary CAG estimates, this spectrum largesse to a private customer could have caused the exchequer a loss in excess of Rs 2-lakh crore. And, according to the contract with Devas, Antrix would have earned just $11 million a year per satellite for 12 years.[source]

Trial spectrum to be withdrawn soon: DoT

The spectrum allocated to Devas Multimedia to conduct trials of its broadband services is likely to be withdrawn soon. If that happens, Devas will have to apply for a full-fledged licence for spectrum usage.

Devas had to apply for trial spectrum to conduct pilot studies for its services. Since ISRO is yet to launch the two satellites on which Devas has taken up capacity, the company does not yet have access to the spectrum that comes along with the transponders. [source]