Telecom operator Telenor has disassociated itself from the views of industry body COAI, which objected to a recommendation of regulator TRAI over auction of spectrum in higher frequency bands. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has approached the Department of telecom (DoT) opposing a TRAI recommendation that spectrum in 2300 Mhz and 2500 Mhz bands should be auctioned in block sizes of 10 Mhz each. Earlier in 2010, the DoT auctioned the spectrum in these two bands in block sizes of 20 Mhz each. Also Read - Jio maintains lead in 4G download speed, Vi in upload in May: TRAIAlso Read - TRAI's new SMS regulations will prevent spam, fraudulent messages: Here's how
Telenor, which is a member of COAI, in a letter to DoT said, “…the COAI letter may be ignored and TRAI recommendations for 10 MHz block for 2300 and 2500 (Mhz band) may be accepted in totality.”
Telenor said that a point in COAI letter clarifies that the reasons against 10 MHz block size is not anchored on technical grounds, rather it is based on competitive concerns.
“Hence, we completely disassociate with their views expressed. We believe spectrum policy decisions should be forward looking based on overall growth of telecom industry and should be based on sound technical grounds,” Telenor (India) Communications head for Corporate Affairs Pankaj Sharma said in the letter.
The company said a block size of 10 MHz will create opportunities to acquire spectrum by more service providers both new as well as existing, ensuring level playing field.
“The smaller block size will also minimize the risk of unsold spectrum thereby ensuring higher revenue for exchequer,” Telenor said.
Telenor has operations in UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Telenor may participate in the next round of spectrum auction but will take its final call only after the government decides on the pricing. Telenor Group President & CEO Sigve Brekke said that the company will also explore option of buying or sharing airwaves for wireless services with other telecom operators under spectrum trading and sharing rule as it looks to boost its operations in India.
Telenor India reported widening of operating loss in fourth quarter of financial year 2015 at Rs 292.5 crore compared to Rs 276 crore a year ago. For the year ended December 2015, the operating loss of Telenor India stood at Rs 792 crore. Brekke said in case Telenor India is unable to justify the spectrum prices going forward then Telenor will figure out all the other alternatives.