Spectrum worth ₹3.92 lakh cr. lying unused, telco tells DoT
Questioning the ‘inexplicable delay’ in holding spectrum auctions, Reliance Jio has written to the Department of Telecom stating that the spectrum scarcity situation was not only impacting the quality of services and investors’ confidence but also causing huge revenue loss to the exchequer.“We are unable to find any reasonable rationale behind the sudden pause in successful and fruitful policy of auctioning all available spectrum every year, since the Supreme Court decision in 2012,” Reliance Jio wrote in the letter to Anshu Prakash, Secretary, DoT.“Auctions were conducted annually from 2012 to 2016. The operators acquire spectrum according to their business plan and it is not necessary that all operators bid for all service areas in all bands,” the firm wrote. The telco noted that a total of 1,461.5 MHz spectrum in paired bands and 790 MHz in unpaired bands with a reserve price of about ₹3.92 lakh crore is currently lying unused.‘Vested interests’“We understand that a few service providers might be opposing spectrum auctions to stifle competition as they have amassed large amounts of spectrum through mergers and acquisition and they are also losing customers every month,” the letter dated September 28, which has also been copied to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Principal Secretary to the PM PK Mishra, among others, stated.Without naming rivals, Jio said some operators were merely interested in perpetuating their 2G technologies and monetising old equipment as much as possible. “We submit that the nation-building policies should not be kept hostage to vested interest of such a few,” it said.Jio also said that in the the four years since the last auction, there had been an exponential rise in traffic with per user voice MoUs (minutes of use ) having doubled and data usage rising by almost 50 times with more than 3.5 times as many wireless broadband users.
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