Government promise of spectrum price reforms big relief for industry: COAI

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Published: October 14, 2019 4:09:02 PM

Mathews further said that the industry is doing everything it can on its part to ensure growth of telecom services in the country.

Trai had made it clear to the telecom department that it considered “all relevant factors” while giving views on prices.

The government’s assurance on undertaking reforms in the spectrum pricing will spell a “big relief” for telecom companies, industry body COAI said on Monday. Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI that if there is adequate spectrum and the price is right, “operators will be interested to see if it makes sense to participate in upcoming auctions”. Terming spectrum as “life blood” of the industry, Mathews said Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s promise of undertaking reforms in the spectrum pricing spells a big relief for the sector.

Telecom operators had earlier rued that spectrum prices being considered by the government for the forthcoming spectrum auction are exorbitant, and has been seeking a review of the rates. Mathews further said that the industry is doing everything it can on its part to ensure growth of telecom services in the country. “It is gratifying to see the minister helping us with our plea,” Mathews added. The industry has been maintaining that the spectrum prices proposed in India are four times higher than other markets.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), in July this year, had refused to budge on its recommendation on base price and valuation of spectrum, at that point dashing hopes of financially-stressed companies such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea which had desired a lower base price. Trai had made it clear to the telecom department that it considered “all relevant factors” while giving views on prices.

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