The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) would soon start an exercise to determine the actual loss to the exchequer due to the allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008 at 2001 price, said Kapil Sibal, communications and IT minister.
In its recent report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had calculated the total loss to the government at R1.8 lakh crore.
“All the numbers that are being handed out are all presumptive as the (government auditor) CAG itself said... We must move from presumptive to certainty,” said Sibal.
The DoT would determine the present value of licences, he said. Since there was no auction of 2G spectrum, “you can’t determine what the market value would have been for this.”
“A large number of people have been granted 2G licences with an entry fee of R1,651 crore... We now have to determine the share of revenue the government would have got over a period of 20 years (periodicity of licence) and then arrive at its value.”
The government auctioned licences in 1995. However, it proved to be a disaster as operators placed high-priced bids. Later, they defaulted in payment of licence fee and sought relief from the government. The government announced relief and existing licensee were shifted to the revenue-sharing model from a fixed licence fee regime.
In a separate briefing in Mumbai, Sibal also said that the government would release more spectrum for the telecom sector. “This is something we are looking at. India is one of those countries, which has the lowest quantum of spectrum. We are looking at releasing more spectrum soon.”
In 2008, the government issued 122 new telecom licences to seven operators, besides 38 dual technology licences bundled with 4.4 MHz of spectrum at R1,651 crore for pan-India operations.
The minister also said that his ministry will soon send notices to errant telecom companies that were issued licences along with spectrum even when they were not eligible. “We will be sending notices to these companies soon.”