Telcos win spectrum concession

NEW DELHI Thu Nov 1, 2012 8:10pm IST

The sun rises behind a communications tower in New Delhi March 20, 2006. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

The sun rises behind a communications tower in New Delhi March 20, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A panel of ministers says telecom operators fighting the withdrawal by government of high quality airwaves will be allowed to keep some of their spectrum holdings, according to a government official.

Market leaders Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) and Vodafone's (VOD.L) India unit -- two of the country's oldest carriers -- will be hit hardest by the replacement of 900 MHz band spectrum by lower quality 1800 Mhz band capacity.

The panel's concession will allow carriers to retain 2.5 Mhz of spectrum, offering relief to operators who said they risked losing connectivity.

The companies will have to match an auction-based price for the 2.5 Mhz of capacity they are allowed to retain and buy any additional spectrum they need from the auction, said the government official who asked not to be named.

He said the panel's decision was final.

Carriers will have to build more mobile masts and replace some existing gear for the spectrum switch, which they estimate will cost them billions of dollars.

The auction for 900 Mhz spectrum will have to be conducted by March, the source said.

A separate auction of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band is due to start on November 12 following the decision by the Supreme Court to revoke permits issued in a scandal-tainted sale in 2008, which has affected the licences of eight carriers.

The panel also proposed that carriers buying other telecom companies will have to match auction-determined prices for airwaves they acquire from the target company, the official said.

This proposal, along with a recommendation for a surcharge on airwaves holdings, will be considered by the cabinet on November 8, the official said.

(Reporting by Arup Roychoudhury; Additional reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Writing by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by David Cowell)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Jaitley's Health

Jaitley's Health

Finance minister back in hospital for check-up.  Full Article 

Deutsche on RBI

Deutsche on RBI

Easing liquidity may make RBI less hawkish: Deutsche.  Full Article 

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba IPO

IPO ranks as world's biggest after additional shares sold   Full Article 

President-Elect

President-Elect

Ghani named Afghan president-elect after deal to end election dispute  Full Article 

G20 Meet

G20 Meet

G20 says nearing growth goal, but more needed from Europe  Full Article 

Asian Games 2014

Asian Games 2014

Full coverage of the 17th Asian Games as Incheon.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage