COAI lauds successful completion of Spectrum Auctions 2016

COAI congratulated the Ministry of Telecommunications and J.S. Deepak, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for a successful mega spectrum auction.

The telecom association also added that the warm response to acquiring spectrum in certain bands testified to the industry’s commitment to build a robust mobile network that is predicated both on voice and data.

COAI, the association that represents India’s top mobile service operators said that the tepid response to spectrum in 700 MHz is owed to a high reserve price. The lack of enthusiasm was majorly due to its unrealistic pricing, high debt and single-digit growth that the industry is currently reeling under.

Lauding the government and the telecom companies on the successful auction, Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI, said, “We congratulate all companies who participated in the auction and thank the Ministry of Telecommunications for the Notice Inviting Application (NIA) that was both innovative and industry-friendly, making it easier for bidders to take part in what has been the biggest-ever spectrum auction of the country. Due to the harmonization of the 1800 MHz spectrum, an additional 10 MHz (approx) of spectrum has been made available. 10 MHz of the 1800 MHz spectrum translates into revenue of Rs. 28,000 crore for the Government at the auction determined price. COAI worked closely with MoT to ensure an additional surplus 10 MHz of contiguous spectrum that helped maximize revenues during the mega auction.”

Although the 2016 auction went along expected lines, proving once again the industry’s commitment towards the Hon. Prime Minister’s vision for a digitally enabled connected India, huge investments will be required to roll out 4G services. For an industry saddled with debts, this will be a challenge.

In fact, the financial strain on the industry and a high reserve price are the major reasons why the 700 MHz band did not attract bidders. On many an occasion, COAI has raised the issue of the high reserve price on the band, and how this could affect investor interest during the auction.

“We are hopeful the Government and the DoT will take cognizance of the role a high reserve price had on bidding, as far as the 700 MHz is concerned, and will recalibrate the price so that spectrum in the band could be put up for auction, maybe two years from now,” Mathews said.

The five-day auction, which made spectrum available in abundance, has set the stage for the industry to work closely to roll out state of the art networks and services that provide the best in class services to consumers.

Telcos have long asked for spectrum that will enable them to take mobile services to the next level. We are grateful that the MoT and the government has responded to the pleas of the industry.

“The industry is now looking forward to obtaining the spectrum and rolling out the networks speedily, so that consumer experience can be made seamless and an ambitious and robust blue-print for transforming the digital identity of the country that will be completed on the additional spectrum that has been sold in what has been a very successful auction,” Mathews added, hailing the telecom revolution for a fully connected and digitally empowered India.