Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja on Friday defended the decisions his Ministry took on the allocation of 2G spectrum, saying that the Union government had made over Rs.70,000 crore from the allocation by adopting the revenue-sharing route.
“As the subscriber base grows each year, we'll make upwards of Rs.15,000 crore every year,” he told The Hindu in an interview here.
Mr. Raja said he was “delighted” over the revenue generated by the latest auctioning of the 3G spectrum. “It'll be forgotten now that it was I who took the dusted files out of the cupboard and began the process. You can check when the TRAI recommendation on 3G arrived at the Ministry, and when and who took the decision.”
He said the 2G operators would have to pay more. There was no escape for operators from paying more for spectrum held in excess of 6.2 MHz. He said he would push ahead with the move to charge for spectrum allocated beyond 6.2 MHz. He and his officials were in touch with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on this.
The Minister added: “I'm the first Minister who raised the question as to why we should give spectrum free to any operator. I referred the matter to TRAI, and in my communication I told them that we have to charge up front for allocation over 6.2 MHz.”
The Minister said he was confident that number portability across mobile telephone networks would be made possible by July this year.
“Number portability is getting delayed because of problems in the import of equipment and national security concerns. I'm continuously monitoring the situation. I'm confident that we will have number portability by July,” he said.
This major initiative will enable subscribers to move across different service providers while retaining their phone number. Targets set earlier for the introduction of the system could not be met.
Mr. Raja said there were legitimate concerns on the security front that needed to be discussed before number portability was implemented. A large part of this related to the sourcing of equipment. His Ministry was in touch with the Home Ministry and was in the process of sorting out the issues that stood in the way.