Older players should be invited for 2G auction: Vodafone

New Delhi, Feb 15: All existing telecom operators and even new players should be invited for the auction of 2G spectrum as and when the government decides to do it as it will enable the industry derive a fair market price, telecom service provider Vodafone said Wednesday.

“All operators and potential new entrants should be allowed to enter the auction. This will ensure the most efficient allocation of spectrum and is necessary to derive a fair market price,” Vodafone said, responding to the pre-consultation paper issed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on allocation of spectrum in 2G band in 22 service areas by auction.

The Supreme Court has ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences issued in 2008 and has asked the government to conduct an auction of the spectrum which is to be freed.

Uninor, a joint venture between Oslo-based Telenor and India’s Unitech has proposed that the auction should take place only among those players who were given the licences in 2008 and also the new ones but should restrict the older players.

Telenor has committed an investment of $3 billion in India and following the apex court’s order, also hinted at plans to exit, saying it would decide to bid after reviewing various criteria, including the reserve price for spectrum.

All of Uninor’s 22 licences stand cancelled following the apex court’s verdict.

Vodafone has however said that it would not be logical to restrict the auction among the parties which acquired the spectrum in 2008.

The operator has also said that all available spectrum in the band — both returned and that currently unallocated — should be made available in the forthcoming auction in order to facilitate better service at cheaper costs.

“Unused spectrum brings no use to consumers. Spectrum to the mobile industry will bring cheaper data and voice services to more people, increase productivity and support other industries, and reduce the need for additional base stations,” it said.

IANS