TC moots higher base price for spectrum
The Telecom Commission (TC) Wednesday recommended a more than 15 per cent increase in the reserve price of 1,800 MHz band on a pan-India basis as against sector regulator TRAI’s suggestions.
“We have taken a decision on the spectrum pricing for 1800 MHz and 900 MHz and also for merger and acquisitions. So we will now take this forward. The spectrum pricing has to now go to EGoM,” Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui said here.
These recommendations will be sent to the Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram for a final call.
As per TC suggestions, the base price for 1800 MHz will increase by about 25 per cent in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, whereas the pan-India price will be up by 15 per cent.
Similarly, for 900 MHz band, the reserve price will increase by 25 per cent for the three metros.
For 800 Mhz, used by CDMA operators, the Commission has decided to conduct the auction. It will now ask Trai to give the reserve price for 800 Mhz spectrum. The proposed spectrum auction slated for next January is expected to raise about `11,000 crore.
Unhappy over the likely increase in reserve price, COAI, a GSM cellular operators body, said there was no basis on which the Commission had suggested the price. “We would have liked if the commission could have retained the price recommended by Trai. But even with the 15 per cent increase in price, we expect good participation of operators in the auction,” said Rajan S Mathew, Director General, COAI.
The government has to conduct the third round of spectrum auction following the Supreme Court’s directive. The apex court had cancelled 122 licences in February 2012 in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Another set of auction for 900 MHz has to be conducted as some of the radiowaves in this band are held by old telecom operators and their licences will start expiring from November 2014.