Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Airtel request DoT for another pre-bid conference ahead of spectrum auctions

telecom-tower-indiaTelecom operators Vodafone, Idea and Airtel have demanded the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct a pre-bid conference for issues related to 3G spectrum to be put up for sale in the forthcoming spectrum auctions. The spectrum auction will start from February 25.

“Since there will be quite tight timeline when DoT will notify quantum of spectrum that will be auctioned and other modalities related to it, may be you (DoT) could consider another pre-bid conference for 2100 Mhz (3G) band,” an Idea Cellular representative said at pre-bid conference called by DoT.

“In some circles EMD is more than 33 per cent upfront payment provision as mentioned in Notice Inviting Application. It should be just around 2-3 per cent but in some services it is as high as 55 per cent which would deter participating and government’s one of the objective of revenue maximisation,” a Reliance Communication representative said. Interestingly, the company is of the view that the higher EMD may deter operators from participating in the upcoming auctions.

“Lock-in period should be applicable on new entrants but it is getting rolled over for someone who has already purchased spectrum in 2012 and subsequent auction,” said a Uninor representative.

Also Read : Spectrum Auction to start from February 25 for 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz

Aircel, Uninor and Tata Teleservices representatives raised issue of lock-in period of three years saying that it is getting rolled over from one auction to other. Lock-in period clause binds promoters having share of more than 10 per cent from selling their stake in the company. On the other hand, Tata Teleservices Limited also expressed concerns over the mechanism to be implemented acquiring contiguous spectrum in the 800 MHz band.

The winner of the CDMA spectrum can choose a spectrum block to make it contiguous with spectrum won in March 2013 auctions but will need to pay a differential price for the spectrum, according to the NIA. The operator is of the view that a similar rule should be applied for buying contiguous spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.

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