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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Vodafone slams auction norms, seeks withdrawal

HTC/Agencies  New Delhi, January 30, 2013
First Published: 12:50 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 22:12 IST(30/1/2013)

Hectic lobbying has begun in the telecom sector to reduce the reserve price of spectrum with the government in the process of finalising modalities for auction of airwaves.

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Vodafone India has sought withdrawal of the recently- issued guidelines for the second round of spectrum auction terming them “illegal, discriminatory and benefiting one set of players”.

The company said the guidelines were “discriminatory” in nature, as they fix the reserve price of spectrum in the 900- MHz band at three times the price of airwaves in the 800-MHz band, while the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended both these bands to be treated on a par.

“Fixing reserve price of 800-MHz band at comparatively low levels benefits a certain set of telecom operators,” the company said in a letter to telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, while seeking withdrawal of the guidelines. It said the auction of spectrum in the 900-MHz band includes spectrum that is currently being used by the company for Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata circles and since the same spectrum is already being used in its networks, it cannot be put out for auction.

The government will auction spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Rajasthan and Karnataka in March. Besides new companies, exiting operators in these circles, whose licences expire in 2014, will also be required to participate in the bids for renewable of their licences.

Norway-based Telenor group has said that it would participate in the auction in the Mumbai circle only if the reserve price is reduced by 50%.

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India, which represents GSM service providers, has sought a 50% reduction in the reserve price of 1,800 MHz of spectrum band in Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Karnataka circles.

(With inputs from PTI)


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