NEW DELHI: Zero upfront fee, moratorium on payments, auctioning of the entire available spectrum of 5G bands during the upcoming auction are some of the demands made by Indian telecom operators. The telcos, while sharing their response to TRAI’s consultation paper on 5G, requested the government to cut down the reserve prices as in the past auctions almost 60% MHZ remained unsold due to high price.
“A large chunk of 63% of the spectrum put up for auction remained unsold in the last auctions. Hence spectrum pricing is an area which requires a comprehensive re-look by the authority. Sticking to old methodologies may not yield the desired results,” said Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), in its response.
India’s largest telecom operator Reliance Jio, which constitutes 36.7% market, wants the government to reduce the reserve price to 50% of the spectrum valuation. The telco said 80% of valuation as reserve price is too steep.
The cash-rich company is also in favour of deferred payment scheme, in which 10% upfront payment, followed by 5 year moratorium in payments. The remaining part of the payment should be spread over 25 years of spectrum validity.
Sunil Mittal-led Bharti-Airtel said spectrum pricing must align with national telecommunications policy. The second largest telco, which constitutes 30.43% market share, said: “We request that in the upcoming auctions only absolutely clean, interference free spectrum is put to auction — spectrum that is immediately allocatable and usable.”
Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) is in favour of zero upfront payment, six year moratorium followed by 20 annual instalments. “...for the telecom operators, there will be an additional cycle of spend on network capex and opex without driving revenues for a fairly long time,” the company said.
Spectrum not fully sold
A large chunk of 63% of the spectrum put up for auction remained unsold in the last auctions. Hence spectrum pricing is an area which requires a comprehensive re-look, says COAI in its reponse