Can't pay 'extremely high' price for spectrum, says Uninor

Telecom firm Uninor, in which Norway's Telenor holds over 67 per cent stake, today expressed its inability to pay the "extremely high" Trai-recommended auction prices for spectrum due to funding reluctance by banks.

"We continue to explain to the government our inability to pay the extremely high auction prices upfront due to funding reluctance of banks and therefore hope there will be some solution towards staggered payments," Uninor said in a statement.

Uninor's 22 licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court in its February order.Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore for a megahertz of airwaves to be auctioned and over Rs 18,000 crore price for pan-India operations.

The Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, will meet on June 21 to decide on the base price of auction of spectrum, sources said.

"Until there is any official announcement on the entire package of rules by the EGoM, we are unable to comment on any new position with regards to the auctions," the statement added.

The issues, especially pricing of spectrum, have to be sorted this month so as to meet Supreme Court's deadline of August 31 to complete spectrum auction.

"The package of issues remains a staggered payment mechanism, placing all available spectrum in the auctions, no new rollout rules and a reasonable reserve price," it said.

The company added it continues to remain almost impossible for them (to participate in auction) if the overall package does not change from what the Trai has recommended."In the interim, we do trust that the Government remains committed to the August 31 deadline for auctions as ordered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court," the statement said. 

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