Vodafone India has sought withdrawal of the recently issued guidelines for the second round of spectrum auction stating that the guidelines are “illegal, discriminatory and benefiting one set of players”.
In a recent letter to telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, Vodafone has again asked the Government to initiate suitable steps for extension of licence and provide suitable terms for consideration and mutual discussion.
The country’s second largest telecom operator by subscriber base had, in September last year, sought extension of its licence period for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata circles, which were coming up for renewal in November 2014. Vodafone has sought extension under Clause 4.1 of the licence agreement under which the government can extend the period of licence by ten years at one time if the request is made by the operator during the 19th year of the licence period. In a recent communication, Vodafone has stated that the new auction guidelines are discriminatory in nature as fixing reserve prices of 900 MHz at three times the price of 800 MHz when the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended that both the bands be treated at par and 800 MHz should be treated cheaper the 1800 MHz. “These (guidelines) would selectively benefit one set of players,” said Vodafone India Resident Director (Regulatory Affairs and Government relations) T V Ramachandran in a letter to Chandrashekhar.
Vodafone also said that the auction of 900MHz spectrum includes the spectrum which is presently being used by the company for Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata circles and since the same spectrum is already being used in its networks, it cannot be put out for auction.
“We submit that since the spectrum is being used expeditiously and extensively in our networks, the same cannot be put for auction in the manner stated in the auction guidelines,” Ramachandran said in the letter.
On January 22, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had issued guidelines for the second round of spectrum auction with expectations to garner about Rs 45,000 crore from the spectrum sale.