Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have been vocal about the need for auctioning of spectrum, rather than allocate it administratively. Jio has now sent a second legal opinion to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the same. According to a Business Standard report, the second legal opinion sent to TRAI has been written by former Supreme Court Justice L Nageshwara Rao. In the letter, Rao has argued in favour of the spectrum auctions. As per Rao, any other method for offering spectrum to the interested parties would be constitutionally unsound.
The tech companies and satellite communication service providers want the spectrum to be allocated administratively. But the telcos (excluding Airtel) feel that it is unfair. In his letter, Rao focused on the previous judgement that the apex court had given during the 2G case. The first-come, first-serve policy earlier adopted by the telecom department was removed and an auction process was brought into place to ensure that there is full transparency.
As per the report, the Supreme Court had said that there is no constitutional requirement for the allocation of a natural resource through an auction. However, the auction process should not be skipped without proper justification, said the apex court. Last week, Jio sent another letter to the telecom regulator by another retired Supreme Court Justice KSP Radhakrishnan who also argued in favour of the spectrum auctions.
Through spectrum auctions, the process not only becomes more transparent and fair for everyone but also allows the government to maximise its revenues. However, the satellite players are not in favour of the spectrum auction. This is because it would hurt their existing investments in India and they have argued that there are many countries where the satellite players can get the spectrum in an administrative manner.