Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vodafone says - Auctioning is the only way out of 2G mess

Vodafone Essar has told the Department of Telecom that auctioning 2G spectrum is the only right way forward to deal with the current mess. The mobile phone company said that recommendation by the telecom regulator to price spectrum based on calculations was incorrect and unjustifiable.
“Even though the one-man committee has criticised DoT for not implementing the 2003 decision of the Cabinet to move to auctioning of spectrum….even today the TRAI refuses to advice to move to an auction model and has come out with an arbitrary and flawed administrative way of charging for spectrum, designed to aggravate the discrimination between different operators,” the Vodafone letter to DoT Secretary said.
“We believe that there is only one way out of this mess viz. allocation of spectrum through transparent auctions. In respect of an administrative approach to address legacy issues, we believe that it at all it has to be applied, the only acceptable way forward will have to be a solution that is anchored around on uniformly applied principles — i.e. no distinctions between below and beyond 6.2 Mhz or between GSM and CDMA,” it said.
The TRAI has suggested that the Government should collect a one-time fee from operators with 2G spectrum at the rate of Rs 1,769 crore per Mhz of spectrum up to 6.2 Mhz and Rs 4,571 crore per Mhz for anything beyond that. This will cost the telecom firms about Rs 16,000 crore, according to Government estimates. Over the next few years, this could go up to Rs 40,000 crore, when the operators go for renewing their licences
Vodafone said that the TRAI had not granted a hearing. The company said that TRAI has no powers to impose retrospective charges for spectrum already allocated.
Last week, Reliance Communications had come out saying that the TRAI recommendations benefitted incumbent operators such as Vodafone as it had reduced the per Mhz price compared with the May 2010 proposals. In May last year, TRAI had said that 2G spectrum should be priced on a pro-rata based on 3G auction price.source

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