With two rounds of auctions of telecom spectrum performing below par due to high prices, Finance Minister P Chidambaram is unsure if the Rs 40,847 crore target for the current fiscal will be met.
“Some of it (spectrum revenue target) is current revenue that is the licence fee, the spectrum usage charges... so some of it is current revenue which will come from people who already have spectrum. What is in doubt is only the fee that I will get through the auction. But an auction will take place and some revenue will come,” he told PTI.
The Finance Minister said that the government had reduced the price of spectrum put for auction but even there had been no bidders for certain airwaves.
“We started with a recommendation of TRAI which said that the reserve price should be around Rs 18,000 crore. Cabinet lowered it to Rs 14,000 crore. Then we calculated for the 900 megahertz, I think that was fixed at some Rs 11,200 crore. Then we calculated the 800 mhz (CDMA) which was fixed at half of it. There were no takers at that price,” he said.
“The last rounds of spectrum auction exploded the myth that there was a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. All those who believed in that myth must now realise that was a myth,” Mr. Chidambaram added.
Mr. Chidambaram said the government has now referred the matter to sector regulator TRAI for its recommendation on the price before going in for the third round of auctions.