Bharti, Vodafone slam TRAI spectrum plan

Nicole McCormick
13 May 2010
Daily News

Indian operators Bharti and Vodafone have slammed a government proposal to charge operators for spectrum already allocated.

Regulator TRAI recommended Tuesday that GSM900 operators should pay for spectrum they have been given above 6.2Mhz.

It suggested that a one-time fee be benchmarked against 3G auction pricing.

Bharti, India’s biggest cellco, said the proposals were “shocking, arbitrary and retrograde” and go “against all existing global norms for spectrum allocation and efficiency.”

Vodafone India called the recommendations “opaque, illogical and discriminatory.”

Analysts estimate that Bharti and Vodafone will have to cough up $700 million and $650 million respectively in spectrum charges if the proposal is signed off by the government, said the FT.

The additional burden comes amidst fiercer-than-expected bidding in India’s 3G auctions and the prospect of billions of dollars of 3G rollout costs.

Bids for pan-Indian spectrum yesterday reached the $3.21 billion mark, more than twice original estimates of $1.3 billion.

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