Major telecom operators through COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) are planning to get a stay against the spectrum auction process for anomalies in the bidding rules.
The next spectrum auction for telecom services is scheduled to begin on March 4. If a court grants a stay, it could hurt the government’s plan to raising over Rs 25,000 crore this fiscal year to help bridge the budget deficit.
As reported in the media, COAI ( Cellular Operators Association of India) and its members are reviewing the NIA (notice inviting application) document and discussing certain perceived anomalies in it and discussing this with their legal counsel to determine the best way forward.
COAI is the industry lobby body representing GSM mobile phone operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
Telecom industry says that the decision has been taken by the government without any planning and in a hurry. The apex telecom body is keen on preventing a speedy auction with limited spectrum. Instead, it wants the government to put up all available airwaves. As things stand, the government has decided to auction 103.75 MHz in all service areas in the 800 MHz, 177.8 MHz in 900 MHz band across 17 telecom circles; 99.2 MHz in 15 circles in the 1800 MHz band, and 85 MHz in the 2100 MHz band (3G) spread across 17 circles.
The telecom industry, however, was hoping that the government will simultaneously auction 15 more MHz of 3G spectrum per circle across India currently in possession of the Defence forces being negotiated for by the telecom department. On this view, the industry has the backing of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).