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Telco chiefs to meet Sibal on spectrum price

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 12:37

New Delhi: Chiefs of four telecom companies-- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Telenor-- are likely to meet Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday and put forth their concerns over Trai's recommendations on spectrum auction.

Bharti Airtel Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas and Idea Cellular Chairman Kumar Managalam Birla are likely to meet Sibal on Wednesday, sources said.

"It (the meeting) is on their concerns over Trai's recommendation," sources at Telecom Ministry said.

The GSM players have been protesting the steep hike in spectrum price recommended by sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The quantum of spectrum to be auctioned and a slew of other issues are also expected to come up for discussion.

Trai's recommendations have evoked sharp reactions from telecom players. Norwegian firm Telenor has even indicated that it may exit India business if the recommendations are accepted.

Telenor in a filing to the Oslo Stock Exchange said it will write down USD 682 million, thereby bringing its accounting exposure in India to nil.

Trai had on April 23 recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore for a megahertz of pan-India spectrum, which is around 10 times higher than the price at which 2G licences were allocated in 2008 under the then Telecom Minister A Raja.

According to the recommendations, a minimum of 5 Mhz should be allotted, which means that pan-India spectrum in 1800 MHz band will cost Rs 18,000 crore. The reserve price is five times the base price of Rs 3,500 crore for 3G auction.

Last week, CEOs of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea , Uninor and Videocon in a letter to Sibal had said that high base price of spectrum recommended by Trai can raise mobile tariffs by up to 30 percent.

They had also demanded that the recommended price be reduced by 80 percent.


First Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 12:37
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