Suggestion to auction 2G spectrum ignored: former Telecom Seceratary

"I had also said that the spectrum was limited and therefore only limited number of licences can be given," Mathur told PTI over phone from Bhopal.

He, however, refused to comment on how all the new players or 121 licencees were given start-up spectrum of 4.4 Mhz within a few weeks of being allocated licences.

"How did he (Raja) do it, I have no idea, So I cannot comment on it," Mathur said, adding that there was not enough spectrum to accommodate over 500 applicants.

Raja has been claiming that he managed to break the cartel of telecom players and managed to give 2G spectrum to new players to bring in competition that resulted in massive growth in the sector, besides lowering of tariffs.

Raja has been in the eye of a storm over allocation of 2G spectrum in 2008 at prices fixed in 2001, which has allegedly caused the exchequer a loss of a whopping Rs 1.40 lakh crore, besides Rs 36,000 crore loss due to giving additional spectrum to existing operators beyond the contracted 6.2 Mhz.

The telecom minister has said that the policy of 1999, which was followed by his predecessors, had been followed while distributing licences in 2008.

Mathur, on the other hand, also said that he along with the then Member (Finance), Telecom Commission, discussed the matter and proposed to the minister that "we should go for an auction route for distributing spectrum" but the same was ignored.

Mathur, who retired as Telecom Secretary on December 31, 2007, had reportedly refused to sign the file for issuance of Letters of Intent to new operators.

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