to give away spectrum at rates fixed in 2001 had caused a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer taking the price garnered in the 3G auction as the benchmark.
The government thereafter fixed a base at a rate almost equivalent to the third-generation (3G) auction price.
Further, as the government has promised to refund the license free paid in 2008, the net gain to the exchequer may be almost nil.
Dismissing allegations that companies colluded with the government, Sibal said "We have done exactly what the courts asked us to do. Infact the court asked us to sell (spectrum at a minimum price of) Rs 18,000 crore, we brought the price down because we wanted to sell, we wanted companies to buy."
"If we had fixed it at Rs 18,000 crore in terms of what Trai had recommended, this (even Rs 9,407 crore ) would not have been fetched," he added.
Lamenting the mess in the sector, Sibal said, "the consumer has not benefited at all because the nature and the kind of investments that ought to have gone into the sector have stopped and the sector has been in debt."
As per the provisional result, Vodafone emerged as the biggest winner getting additional spectrum in 14 circles of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar, Kerala, Orissa, North East, Punjab and Kerala.
Its market competitor Bharti Airtel managed only in Assam circles.
Poor response to 2G spectrum auction to swell fiscal deficit
Poor response to the 2G telecom spectrum auction is likely to make it difficult for the government to keep in check fiscal deficit and meet the revised target of 5.3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2012-13.
As against the target of Rs 40,000 crore, the 2G spectrum auction, which concluded today, would fetch only Rs 9,407 crore. This was much less than the reserve price of Rs 28,000 crore fixed by the Telecommunications Ministry.
It is also unlikely that the entire amount would be available in the current fiscal as the telecom companies would have the option to