CBI places TRAI report on 2G valuation before SC

CBI placed before Supreme Court the report of the TRAI which said it was not possible to predict with certainty the precise value of 2G spectrum.

Last Updated: Sep 06, 2011, 22:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The CBI on Tuesday placed before the
Supreme Court the report of the TRAI which said it was not
possible to predict with certainty the precise value of 2G
spectrum that would have emerged in auction between 2001-08.

The report, which was placed before a bench comprising
justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu, said it was a "tricky"
exercise to estimate the annual value of spectrum for eight
years.
The bench, which was hearing the bail pleas of two of the
accused in the 2G spectrum scam, had yesterday said that it
would like to go through the TRAI report after senior advocate
Ram Jethmalani had submitted that telecom regulator in its
report had given a finding that there was no loss in the
allocation of spectrum.

The report said "retrospectively estimating annual value
of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band for eight years between 2001
and 2008 is a tricky exercise at the best of times. Access to
data is crucially important, but equally, if not more
important is access to business plans and forecasts of service
providers who invest in the market.
"We do not have access to the latter information and even
the data that we have is inadequate, as documented in our
report. We, therefore conduct the exercise of estimating
market value of spectrum under severe data constraints and a
changing technological environment".

Asked whether CBI`s case becoming weak due to TRAI`s
report that there was no loss to the government due to
spectrum allocation in 2008, TRAI Chairman J S Sarma said that
"the experts have given the range of values but they could not
arrive at any definitive figure."

Sarma, however, asserted that this is not TRAI but
experts`s report and they have indicated the reasons why they
didn`t arrive at any definite value which is in the report.

Giving the economic models applied for calculating the
values of spectrum, the report said "for the terminal year,
the range of estimates of the value is between around R 5,500
crore to Rs 9,500 crores and the range narrows for earlier
periods".

"Given that we are trying to estimate a value that
bidders would have placed had spectrum been auctioned, it is
not unreasonable to expect variation between different
approaches. Given the scant data that is available to us, it
is also not possible to estimate the standard errors or the
confidence intervals for our estimate," the expert committee
said in the report.

"It is therefore not possible to predict with certainty
the precise values of spectrum that would have emerged in
auction. The risk of error in the estimates increases since
the exercise is carried out retrospectively and with meagre
data.

"We are however confident of the analytical foundations
of the methods and their appropriateness to the task. However,
we cannot rule out the possibility that armed with richer data
we could improve the reliability of our estimates. Our results
may be interpreted in this spirit," the report said.

PTI