Even EGoM's spectrum price too high, says GSMA
Mumbai: Global telecom body GSM Association Saturday said the reserve price for airwaves is still "prohibitively high" even after the Empowered Group of Ministers decided (EGoM) decided to recommend to the Cabinet a lower than sector regulator TRAI-proposed price.
"The GSMA believes that while the price range recommended by the EGoM could place spectrum at a fairer price than was recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI), it is still high in terms of international best practice and could hinder continued investment in mobile technology in the country," GSMA Director-General Anne Bouverot said in a statement.
According to sources, the reconstituted EGoM headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram which met yesterday, will recommend a reserve price between Rs 14,000 and Rs 16,000 crore for pan-India spectrum of 5 Mhz with existing Spectrum Usage Charge (SUC) of 3-8 percent.
The GSMA also said SUC should be kept at a minimum.
Bouverot said, "the EGoM has taken the advice of the country's business leaders, economists and mobile industry in consideration."
However, this price range is still prohibitive and we remain concerned that over the long-term it will hamper the delivery of high quality, affordable and innovative mobile services across the country, she added.
"Alongside our member operators, we urge the Cabinet to adhere to international best practice when taking a final decision to bring the greatest benefits to the economy, society and its people," GSMA said.
The Trai had earlier recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore per unit of spectrum, called megahertz (Mhz), for the auction of spectrum vacated from Supreme Court cancelling 122 licences issued by the then telecom minister A Raja in 2008.
This base price translates to over Rs 18,000 crore for a pan-India spectrum for new companies.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators in over 220 countries of nearly 800 mobile operators and over 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.