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Vodafone India, which won bids in 14 circles, said it had participated in the 2G auction to secure additional spectrum. "Vodafone India has always maintained that auctions are the best and the only transparent method for allocation of spectrum.
Our decision to participate in the 2G auction was to secure additional spectrum in many circles where we have not received any new 2G spectrum since 2008. Our customers grew in that period from 60 million to 153 million today," Vodafone India said in a statement.
Vodafone added that the entire spectrum that is currently unused (800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz) should be put on auction at the same time with a "much lower reserve price" and the auction should be held simultaneously for all the service areas.
"Additionally, to ensure that there is a level playing field, all operators should be allowed to bid for all spectrum. Spectrum usage should be technology agnostic and the choice of technology should be left to the operators as market forces will decide which is best suited to meet customer demands," it said.
This will result in effective participation and bidding for spectrum, thus leading to a wider service offering with better quality of coverage for customers, while government will be best placed to meet its fiscal demands, it added.
"The government should also follow TRAI's advice to abandon staggered spectrum usage fees which are higher for operators who require more spectrum. This does not make sense if spectrum is bought in an auction and is paid for already," the statement said.
Spectrum usage fees should be flat and only represent the charge for administering the spectrum, Vodafone added. Sectoral regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has advised to put this at one percent of revenues.
In a statement, Telenor Group announced that the company has been successful in securing spectrum license to provide mobile telephony services in six telecom circles in India.
"Telenor's total bid in the spectrum auction was Rs 4,018 crore of which 33 percent is to be paid up front. The Indian Department of Telecommunications has informed Telenor that the company secured 5 MHz of spectrum in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra," the company said.
With a total population of about 600 million people and an actual mobile phone customer penetration of just 40 percent, these states represent a strong growth opportunity for Telenor Group, the company said.
All Uninor assets in these circles, including customers, employees, partners and infrastructure will be seamlessly transferred to the new company and services will continue uninterrupted, it added.
Telenor said it was not awarded spectrum in Mumbai, Kolkata and West Bengal. In these circles operations will cease in accordance with Indian law and regulations, it added.
Meanwhile, CDMA operators body AUSPI said the reserve price is in essence an administered price which, in all fairness, cannot be used by the government for any kind of downstream calculations.
"The government cannot claim with its hand on its chest that barring may be 1800 Mhz spectrum in Bihar, it has really 'discovered' any prices in in the 17 circles where reserve price was not breached," said Ashok Sud, Secretary General, AUSPI.
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