Marten Pieters, managing director and CEO, Vodafone
Below is the edited transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18.
Q: The 2G auction has come to a close and Vodafone has bid and won the licence to operate in seven circles. But overall, the auction has raked in around Rs 9,500 crore in revenues for the government. What is your opinion on how the auction has panned out?
A: I want to first say that it is good that an auction was conducted because we have consistently maintained that an auction is the only transparent method to allocate spectrum. So I am very happy that the auction was successful, though other participants in the telecom industry think that it is on partly successful because the reserve prices for some of these circles were too high.
Q: But as an industry expert, what is the value of the spectrum? Should the public and the government believe that the spectrum this time around has been sold cheap while in the 3G auction it was overpriced?
A: The value of spectrum depends on a lot of factors. Three years ago, when 3G spectrum was auctioned, the Indian economy was booming. But now the economy is not performing so well. And in the last few months, the number of our customers has reduced to just over 900 million from around 930 million.
Another point I would like to make is that you cannot compare the price of 3G spectrum which includes data services with the price of 2G spectrum which only provides voice services.