India’s Supreme Court has rejected appeals to overturn its decision to revoke 122 operating licences, after police investigations revealed that the award process in 2008 had been tainted by corruption. Sistema Shyam TeleSerivces (SSTL), Idea Cellular, Videocon and Tata Teleservices all had petitions rejected by the apex court, which said that none were valid. Russian-backed SSTL, which operates under the MTS India banner, called the decision ‘unfortunate’ adding that the company’s shareholders would decide its future strategy. SSTL chose not to participate in the November 2012 spectrum auction, confident in its petition with the Supreme Court. SSTL now has the option to bid for spectrum in a second sale in March or close down operations. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, SSTL has long-threatened to seek international arbitration against the Indian government over its licence cancellation, citing an investment protection treaty between Russia and India.
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