Government should make more spectrum available: Sunil Mittal

New Delhi, Nov 6 :

The telecom industry requires more spectrum and the government should make it available, Bharti Group chairman Sunil Mittal said here Thursday.

Sunil Mittal
Sunil Mittal
“We want from the government more spectrum. Every country has the same amount of spectrum and it is not that India has less. It needs to be vacated from other places, that is what other countries have also done,” he said on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit.

“I would say the government should make available enough spectrum so that there is a balance between spectrum pricing,” he added.

The next spectrum auction is expected to take place in February 2015. In the 1,800 MHz band, 20 circles are going for auction, while in the 900 MHz band, 18 circles will be up for sale.

The recommendations said spectrum should be put to auction in a block size of 2×200 KHz in both the 900 and 1,800 MHz bands.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Oct 15 recommended around 10 percent hike in the reserve price for 1,800 MHz band spectrum auction compared to the last winning price in the February 2014 sale.

In December 2015, seven each licences of Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications, four licences of Bharti Airtel and six licences of Vodafone are scheduled to complete their 20-year term after which they require renewal.

“In the 900 MHz band, only the spectrum held by them is available for the auction. These licensees will have to win back this spectrum to ensure business continuity in a licence service area (LSA). If they don’t, it places the large investment made in the LSAs in jeopardy,” the TRAI said.

It has set a price of Rs.3,004 crore per mega hertz for bandwidth to be auctioned in 18 service areas for the more efficient 900 Mhz band and Rs.2,138 crore per mega hertz for the 1,800 MHz band.

The revenue target set by the government in 2014-15 budget from spectrum auction is to the tune of Rs.45,471 crore.

In 2013-14, the total receipts from auction were of the order of Rs.40,847.06 crore. In February 2014, in a 10-day auction of 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, the government mopped up Rs.61,162 crore.

Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel called off its Rs.700-crore deal to acquire Mumbai-based Loop Mobile.

Talking about it, Mittal said: “Loop mobile is a small issue and I don’t know why this is being made into such a big issue. Most of the Loop subscribers have ported to us. It was a small deal, which was basically an experiment for the first time to acquire customers.”


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