Vodafone seeks withdrawal of auction guidelines

Vodafone seeks withdrawal of auction guidelines

Vodafone India has sought withdrawal of the recently issued guidelines for the second round of spectrum auction terming them "illegal, discriminatory and benefiting one set of players".

Vodafone said the guidelines were "discriminatory” in nature, as they fix the reserve price of 900Mhz at three times the price of 800Mhz, while Trai had recommended both these bands to be treated at par.

"Fixing reserve price of 800 MHz band at comparatively low levels benefits a certain set of telecom operators, "it said in a letter to Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar, while seeking withdrawal of the guidelines.

Vodafone also said auction of 900MHz spectrum includes the spectrum which is presently being used by the company for Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata circles and since the same spectrum is already being used in its networks, it cannot be put out for auction.

“We submit that since the spectrum is being used expeditiously and extensively in our networks, the same cannot be put for auction in the manner stated in the auction guidelines,” Vodafone India Resident Director (Regulatory Affairs and Government relations) TV Ramachandran said in the letter.

The Government on January 22, issued guidelines for the second round of spectrum auction which is expected to fetch around Rs 45,000 crore to exchequer from airwaves sale. The guidelines, however, did not mention about the timeline for starting auction and related dates.

Vodafone has already sought extension of its licence period for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles, which were coming up for renewal in November 2014.

The telecom operator has sought the extension under Clause 4.1 of the licence agreement under which the government can extend the period of licence by ten years at one time if the request is made by the operator during the 19th year of the licence period.

Terming the guidelines for auction of 900MHz was in contravention of licence which provided for extension on terms that are to be mutually agreed, Ramachandran said Vodafone had already applied for extension of license in the service areas of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and the request was pending with the Department of Telecom (DoT).

"We once again request you to initiate suitable steps for extension of licence and provide suitable terms for consideration and mutual discussion," the letter said.