Indian telecom industry wants more spectrum and the Narendra Modi government should make it available said Sunil Mittal, Bharti group Chairman on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit. The event was organised by the World Economic Forum in New Delhi.
“We want from the government more spectrum. Every country has the same amount of spectrum and it is not that India has less… It needs to be vacated from other places, that is what other countries have also done,” said Mittal.
However, on October 15, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had released recommendations on spectrum valuation asking the government to auction spectrum in the 900 and 1800 megahertz band. The premium 900 MHz band and 1800 MHz band are presently being used for 2G GSM mobile services by operators Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.
In the mean time, Indian government has proposed to auction about 184 MHz of spectrum in 900 MHz band which is held by these companies through their various licenses expiring in 2015-16. The four telecom operators will have to buy spectrum afresh to continue their services.
“I would say government should make available enough spectrum so that there is a balance between spectrum pricing” he added.
On the other hand, the government hopes to raise more than Rs. 90,000 crore according to analysts. The last spectrum auction held in February this year generated more than Rs. 61,000 crore.
In addition, the government expects to sell all the spectrum becoming available in 2015 as telcos prepare for a surge in wireless data demand in the country, as well as replace the spectrum that they stand to lose because of their expiring licenses.