New Delhi: India's top telecommunication company's head Sunil Bharti Mittal Wednesday strongly slammed the telecommunication regulator's recommendations on the auction of second generation (2G) mobile telephony radio waves, saying that the recommendations, if accepted, will destroy the industry.
"We believe it is completely flawed, it is illogical... Perhaps, they have arrived at decision and then filled up the logic," Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel, told reporters on the sidelines of meeting with representatives of key ministries.
Mittal, along with heads of three other telecommunication companies including Vittorio Colao of Vodafone Group Plc, Kumar Mangalam Birla of Idea Cellular Ltd and Jon Fredrik Baksaas of Telenor ASA, met Department of Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar, Information Technology and Communication Minister Kapil Sibal and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday to express concerns over the telecom regulator's recommendations on spectrum auction.
"We are trying to present fact sheets. We are trying to show the inconsistencies of TRAI, which has made three recommendations in last 18 months... What makes us believe that this new one (on 2G spectrum auction) correct?" Mittal added.
Earlier April, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India suggested a near 11-fold hike in auction base price of Rs 36.22 billion for every megahertz (MHz) of nationwide spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band, against a price of about Rs 3.8 billion in the scam-tainted 2008 sale, drawing howls of protest from the industry.
"Every thing that is coming out from regulatory house today is the mode of destruction for this wonderful industry that India has built," he said.
Earlier February, the Supreme Court had ordered cancellation of all 122 telecommunication licenses awarded to eight operators in the spectrum sale in 2008, and had asked the government to redistribute the spectrum through an auction.
TRAI also recommended re-farming of spectrum in the 800 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands "progressively at an early date". It suggested that spectrum available in the 900 Mhz be replaced by the 1,800 MHz band, which may be charged at the price prevalent at the time of re-farming.
The operators, who have opposed the TRAI's recommendations on 'refarming', said that it will lead to network disruptions.
Further, global GSM operators lobby -- the GSM Association (GSMA) -- has said that the reserve price for 2G auction would curtail investment in mobile broadband infrastructure.
The Supreme Court of India last week extended the timeline for conducting auction, and issuance of fresh licenses and spectrum for 2G mobile telephony services to August 31 from June 2, providing relief to companies whose licenses face cancellation.