The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has cleared the sale of Qualcomm Inc’s stake in wireless broadband company Wireless Business Service Private Ltd (WBSPL) to Bharti Airtel, following a ruling from the law ministry that the transaction did not violate the rules of the 2010 auction, the Economic Times writes. Under the rules of the 2010 auction, in which Qualcomm’s WBSPL was awarded 20MHz of 2300MHz band spectrum in four circles, the owners of new players were not allowed to reduce their stake in the operator below 26%, but did not stipulate a timeframe for this restriction to remain in place. Qualcomm enlisted two Indian partners to meet the cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) of 74%, before selling the company to Bharti Airtel. According to the ministry’s ruling, bidders are obliged to retain at least a 26% stake in the firm until the full spectrum fee has been paid and the frequencies have been allotted.
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