India’s telecoms ministry has rejected Qualcomm Inc’s application for a licence to provide Internet services, the U.S. chipmaker said on Thursday, casting uncertainty over its India plans after it paid $1 billion to buy broadband spectrum last year.
Qualcomm said the application was rejected on grounds that it found to be “baseless.” It did not give details and a company spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the official statement.
India’s telecoms ministry has cited Qualcomm missing the deadline for applying for the Internet service providers’ licence as one of the reasons for rejecting the application, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
According to the broadband spectrum auction rules, firms that won wireless airwaves in last year’s auction were required to apply for the licence within three months of being declared winners, the sources said.
“I would imagine any company in this position could be expected to challenge something like this,” said Mahesh Uppal, director at telecom consulting firm Com First (India).