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TMCNet:  'Pricey' 2G airwaves to shorten auction: Sunil Mittal [India Business] [Times of India]

[November 09, 2012]

'Pricey' 2G airwaves to shorten auction: Sunil Mittal [India Business] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) GURGAON: The reserve price for 2G airwaves in the upcoming auctions is 'too high' and it will force the bidding process to be 'over in the first day itself', chairman of Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile phone company by customers and revenues, Sunil Mittal said.



"Reserve price is too high and we have been saying that since day one," Mittal told reporters here on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. He also ruled out a repeat of the 3G spectrum sale in 2010, where telcos bid aggressively stretching the auctions to 35 days. "There is no need to be aggressive," he added.

The government has set a base price of Rs 14,000 crore for 5 MHz of GSM airwaves in the 1800 MHz band on a pan-India basis, and the auctions are scheduled to start on November 12. Recently both Tata Teleservices and Videocon withdrew from the spectrum auctions in the 800 MHz band, largely used for CDMA services, and executives in these companies had said that they did not see a 'business case' as the base price for this frequency been fixed at 1.3 times as that of GSM.

While the government aims to garner Rs 40,000 crore from the spectrum sale, analysts say the Centre will fall short of its estimates by a significant amount. On Tuesday, the telecom department had said that all bidders for GSM airwaves - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Telenor and Videocon - had confirmed they would participate in the auction for spectrum in the 1800 MHz frequency. None of the GSM players are bidding for airwaves on a pan-India level.

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