Postpone spectrum auction: telcos to govt

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 31, 2014 00:16 IST

Leading telecom operators including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications have written to the government to postpone the spectrum auction that is likely to take place in February next year.

The operators have demanded that companies, whose licences are valid till 2015-16, should be allowed to continue with the spectrum they currently hold till then.
Spectrum refers to radiowaves that transmit data and voice.

Chief executives led by Gopal Vittal of Bharti Airtel, Himanshu Kapania of Idea Cellular, Gurdeep Singh of Reliance Communications and Martin Pieters of Vodafone India, have jointly written to IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, urging that auctions be held when there is adequate supply of spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands.

In the absence of adequate spectrum, supply would not be able to match demand, which would hit broadband services and affect industry growth, they said.
Operators have requested the government to auction spectrum in all bands simultaneously in a “Big Bang” auction.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recently suggested that companies should pay the price agreed upon in February 2014 for using spectrum during the intervening period.

The CEOs have suggested that if required, the price may be adjusted with the rate agreed upon in the next round of auctions.

Alternately, the CEOs have also proposed that the government should work towards a plan to auction all 900 MHz spectrum allocated to the 1996-2000 licensees together, when BSNL-MTNL licences comes up for extension.

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