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NEW DELHI: In view of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's recommendations favouring steep hike in spectrum charges, Vodafone Essar on Monday urged Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal not to ‘unilaterally' and ‘wrongfully' thrust charges on operators.
In a letter to Mr. Sibal, Vodafone Essar said the Ministry should allow auction of spectrum and levy uniform spectrum charges in the proposed National Telecom Policy-2011. It has urged the Minister to formulate a spectrum reforms policy that is based on public interest and ensure most transparent, optimal and efficient use of this scarce resource. Notably, TRAI has proposed a Rs.4,571.87 crore for each Mhz (pan-India) of additional 2G spectrum held by operators beyond 6.2 Mhz.
Vodafone Essar also said the auction would introduce a consistent approach to pricing of spectrum rather than radically different approaches to charging for it, despite the fact that all operators compete in the same market. It asserted that any administrative approach sought to be adopted by the government will undoubtedly run into roadblocks. Auction, on the other hand, will unlock the huge revenue opportunities of the spectrum lying unutilised with DoT, the operator added. Vodafone Essar further said it was in favour of delinking spectrum from licence as it would help reforms in spectrum auction, merger and acquisition, and spectrum trading. “The common man will benefit if the scarce and precious resource of spectrum is used efficiently. This can be achieved through allocation and trading of this resource through a market based process which will ensure the highest value for this ‘public property',it said in the letter.
The telecom operator supported the levy of uniform licence fee across all services under various telecom licences, but opposed on replacing the existing roll-out obligations with the roll-out coverage based on habitation.
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