Terming Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) revised recommendations for spectrum auction as “cosmetic changes”, telecom firm Uninor on Monday said the solutions for the problems will have to come from the political leadership.
“We note that the TRAI makes some cosmetic changes and persists with a plan that evicts new operators. As earlier, we believe this is not the auction that the court ordered,” Uninor said in a statement.
Last week, Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske, who is the representative of Norwegian government on the board of Telenor, had said that any failure of telecom major’s USD 3 billion investment in India would have political implications.
Telenor holds 67.25 per cent stake in the Uninor while the balance is held by realty major Unitech.
“It has been obvious for some time that the solutions will have to come from the political leadership of the country. These must be such that billions in investments and committed foreign investors are not forced out of India,” Uninor said.
Despite pressure from industry, TRAI has stood by its recommendations of high base price for auction of spectrum, saying the increase in the tariff can be absorbed by operators.
TRAI said “present recommended reserve price of Rs 3622.16 per MHz for 1800 MHz band works out to only 0.25 euro per MHz per population.”
Saying the decision to increase spectrum usage charges was “bizarre”, Uninor said TRAI had missed an “opportunity to correct the flaws, place all cancelled spectrum into the auctions and invite operators to win back their licences.”
“While that hasn’t happened, we see the illogical rollout obligations stay... These are more steps in the wrong direction,” Uninor added.