Disputing CAG’s allegations of telecom operators forming cartels during recent spectrum auctions, Vodafone India on Wednesday said if all the players in the industry did not participate than it cannot be termed as cartelisation.
“How can there be a cartel of 12 players? If 12 operators did not participate in the auction then it is an industry view not cartelisation,” Vodafone India MD and CEO Marten Pieters told PTI.
DG (Audit) Post and Telecommunications, a unit of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report to Department of Telecom has said cartelisation by telecom firms in the last two auctions had resulted in spectrum valued at thousands of crores being wasted.
It also accused the government of wittingly or unwittingly aiding and abetting companies by not acting against them.
The government put on sale scarce spectrum in November 2012 but limited investor interest saw the auction take in less than a quarter of the expected Rs. 40,000 crore, whilst a second round of bidding in February this year attracted just one bidder.
The government got just around Rs. 13,046 crore from the two rounds. The telecom companies had blamed the high reserve price of spectrum as reason for muted response. The firms had said given the uncertain regulatory environment, they could not bid for spectrum at such high price.