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Idea Cellular Gets Access To Disputed Regional Permits

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Idea Cellular Ltd, India's third-biggest mobile phone carrier by customers and revenue, said the government has given it access to long-disputed permits in two service zones, helping its stock extend gains.
 
The telecommunication ministry transferred to Idea permits originally held by Spice Communications, which Idea had acquired in 2008. The ministry had imposed a Rs 600 crore fine on the company and stalled the permit transfer, saying Idea violated rules in the acquisition.
 
Idea said the permit transfer would help it launch 3G services in Punjab, where it bought airwaves for the services in 2010, but has yet to offer the services.
 
The permit transfer is subject to the outcome of Idea's plea at a telecoms tribunal challenging the government penalty, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
Shares in Idea closed 7.9 per cent higher, having risen as much as 9.2 per cent during the session. Among the listed Indian telecoms carriers, shares in Idea have fallen the most since mid-January over concerns of fierce bidding in a telecoms airwave auction.
 
(Reuters)