telecom commission chairman and secretary DoT R Chandrashekhar said. The framework for new licences will be ready by end of this financial year, he added.
However, some analysts criticised the decision, pointing out that the amount of Rs 1,658 crore should have been indexed to current levels if the government was serious about levelling the playing field. This way, it is a huge benefit to companies who essentially bid for spectrum which was for data services, they said.
Auspi – a telecom industry association of dual-tech operators like Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices – general secretary Ashok Sud said: “The BWA spectrum had a lower per MHz reserve price than that of 3G spectrum. The pan-India auction-discovered price of BWA spectrum was Rs 642 crore per Mhz against Rs 1,675 crore per MHz for 3G spectrum. 20 MHz of BWA spectrum is held by each licensee. The Telecom Commission’s reported action will allow BWA licensees to offer pan-India voice after paying a paltry incremental amount of Rs 83 crore per MHz. Given that the difference between the prices of 3G and BWA on a per MHz prices was Rs 1,033 crore per MHz, it would amount to a bonanza for BWA licensees. This is unfair to the existing unified access services licensees.”
Meanwhile, the telecom commission deferred a decision on bringing telecom tower companies, called IP-1, under licences.