No case for holding spectrum auctions now: Big telcos to Trai

No case for holding spectrum auctions now: Big telcos to Trai

Established telcos like Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular have asserted that there can be no case for holding spectrum auctions or even its consultation process in the prevailing scenario where the industry has been bruised by falling revenue and high levies.

Newcomer Reliance Jio, however, said the auction schedule may be drawn up at the discretion of the regulator and the government, but that long-term visibility is imperative for advanced planning to be undertaken by telcos.

Jio said the telecom department should provide a forward-looking timeframe for availability of spectrum for the next 10 years across multiple bands.

The Mukesh Ambani company has also strongly argued in favour of doing away with the 50% in-band spectrum cap, saying it has lost relevance as auctioned spectrum is now technology neutral.

On the valuation of spectrum, Jio has suggested that reserve price should be reduced by 50% across all spectrum bands.

In its written submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) consultation paper on spectrum auction, Bharti Airtel has said an "opportune" time for holding the sale of airwaves would be the end of 2018-19.

The consultation process on auction and pricing of spectrum should be initiated between September to December 2018, when operators are better placed to assess their future needs, it added.

"We believe, if auction is conducted in the near future, then it would not result in realisation of full value of proposed spectrum put to auction," Airtel has said.

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