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5 players in the fray for DTH service; Sun gets LoI, Reliance waiting in the wings

06-July-2006
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5 players in the fray for DTH service; Sun gets LoI, Reliance waiting in the wings

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has received six applications for the license to operate DTH service from the private companies with Sun getting the go ahead for DoT clearance, the case of Reliance Blue Magic is still under consideration.

The name of the companies who had applied to the Ministry are ASC Enterprises Ltd, Space TV Pvt Ltd (now Tata Sky Ltd), Essel Shyam Communication Ltd, Noida Software Technology Park Ltd, Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd and Reliance Blue Magic Pvt Ltd.

While licences have been issued to ASC Enterprises and Tata Sky Ltd, a Letter of Intent (LoI) has been issued to Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd. Sun now is required to obtain SACFA (Standing Advisory Committee on radio Frequency Allocation) clearance from the Department of Telecommunication and furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 40 crore to the I&B Ministry so that a licence agreement could be entered into.

The application of Essel Shyam Communication Ltd has been rejected on the ground that the applicant had not furnished the requisite information despite repeated requests by the Ministry.

The application of Noida Software Technology Park Ltd (NSTPL) has been processed and they have been asked to deposit the entry fee. The application of Reliance Blue Magic Pvt Ltd from the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) is still under consideration.

In order to get a license for DTH operation, a company is required to first get security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Space. Then the applicant is required to pay an initial non-refundable entry-fee of Rs 10 crore to the I&B Ministry. After the payment of the entry fee, the applicant is informed of the intent of the Ministry to issue the licence and is requested to approach the DoT for SACFA clearance.

Within a month of obtaining SACFA clearance, the licensee will have to submit a bank guarantee to the I&B Ministry for an amount of Rs 40 crore, valid for the duration of the license, following which the applicant signs a licensing agreement with the Ministry.

After the agreement has been signed, the applicant will have to apply to the Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) Wing of the Ministry of Communications for seeking Wireless Operational License for establishment, maintenance and operation of DTH platform.

The licensee shall pay an annual fee equivalent to 10 per cent of its gross revenue as reflected in the audited accounts of the company for that particular financial year.

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