Indian Telcos queue up for spectrum

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October 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone joined Norwegian telecom major Telenor, Videocon, Idea Cellular and Tata Tele – four companies whose licences are among 122 cancelled by the Supreme Court – to bid for 2G spectrum in the fresh round of bidding that starts next month.

Indian Telcos queue up for spectrum

October 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone joined Norwegian telecom major Telenor, Videocon, Idea Cellular and Tata Tele – four companies whose licences are among 122 cancelled by the Supreme Court – to bid for 2G spectrum in the fresh round of bidding that starts next month.

Indian Telcos queue up for spectrum

While Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries was widely expected to participate in the auctions, the group chose to stay away, just as his younger brother Anil's Reliance Communication did not apply for fresh round of bidding.

Barring the Ambani senior, the only surprise came from Sistema Shyam that said it will not participate in bidding, a move that has got several of its customers worried. Sistema Shyam's absence means that there will be no bids for CDMA frequency band. Otherwise, companies that submitted applications to the department of telecommunications on Friday were on expected lines.

Telenor, which settled its bitter dispute with Unitech, its erstwhile partner in the telecom business, has the maximum at stake having pumped in upwards of Rs 10,000 crore in the Indian business. Although it had threatened to walk out of India citing high base price, it did not want to lose its entire investment in the country, amongst the most competitive globally. Uninor, the Telenor-Unitech joint venture, had suffered the biggest blow from the apex court order as it stands to lose all its 22 licences.

Similarly, Venugopal Dhoot's Videocon will lose 21 licences, while the court order will impact Idea's nine licences and Tata Tele's three.

Although Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are not impacted by the court verdict to quash licences awarded controversially during A Raja's term as telecom minister, the two are trying to get mop up more spectrum. In a statement, Vodafone did not comment on the circles it wants to bid for but confirmed that that it had filed its application.

Bharti executives were more forthcoming and said that the country's largest mobile operator was looking to get more radio waves in category C circles such as Odisha and north-east to bolster its operations. Unlike the so-called new entrants or those whose licences were cancelled, existing players can bid for only two blocks of spectrum, while the likes of Telenor and Videcon can seek four.

DoT is conducting auction of frequencies in 1800 MHz, being used for GSM services at present, and 800 MHz band for CDMA. The government hopes to collect around Rs 40,000 crore through the auction.


Courtesy: IE