Column : Killing the telecom goose
A good place to begin is the Rs 30,000 crore—a third of this from PSUs BSNL and MTNL—that the EGoM wants telcos to pay for the ‘extra’ spectrum they have (table 1). While telcos argue they got the ‘extra’ spectrum as a result of bona fide government policy, this is missing the point—after all, Uninor can claim it got its licences out of government policy that everyone in the government argued (some still do!) was bona fide till the Supreme Court ruled otherwise. The question is whether the government got compensated for, say, giving spectrum worth R5,000 crore for an upfront payment of just R1,651 crore.
Turns out, the government did get compensated. Here’s why: when telcos were given this ‘extra’ spectrum without being charged an upfront auction-type fee,
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