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MIB moves Delhi HC against TDSAT order on FM migration fee

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting ( MIB) has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the interim order of the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on the calculation of the non-refundable one-time migration fee (NOTMF) for radio operators.

The MIB’s appeal is slated to be heard on Monday, 30 November.

Meanwhile, the TDSAT had set 26 November as the date for final hearing in the matter. However, the case has now been adjourned to January.

In its interim order of 28 October, the tribunal had directed the MIB to calculate the NOTMF based on the reserve price for cities that received no bids during the first batch of auctions.

With respect to the reference cities where there was no successful bidding for taking the average increase in Phase III bids, the bench directed the respondent to take the reserve price as the bid amount for the computation of the NOTMF.

Thus, the licence holders being represented by the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) will have to pay the balance amount of the NOTMF within three working days from the date of intimation of the amount.

The tribunal had also observed that in case the petition failed, the petitioners would be required to pay the balance amount of the NOTMF along with interest and within such time as may be directed by the tribunal.

MIB had earlier sought a clarification from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the methodology used for calculation of the NOTMF for existing cities. It was also to confirm whether the calculations of city-wise NOTMF were done as per TRAI’s recommendations dated 20 February 2014. Accordingly, on examining the NOTMF methodology for city groups X, Y and Z, the regulator had stated that the methodology followed by the MIB was in line with TRAI’s recommendations.

However, TRAI had said that the AROI’s assumption was not tenable as the final prices for allocation of channels in such cities were yet to be determined. Accordingly, the regulator in its reply did not accept the request of the AROI for review of the NOTMF.

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