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GSMA hits out at India's proposed $2.5bn 2G base price

24 июля 2012

The GSMA has warned that the reserve price for 2G spectrum in India's upcoming licence re-auction is still too high, despite the recommendation by ministers overseeing the process to cut the proposed fee by up to 20%.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) led by home minister P Chidambaram late last week proposed a minimum price of between INR140 billion and INR160 billion ($2.5 billion-$2.9 billion) for a nationwide licence, according to sources cited by multiple local news outlets. Earlier this year the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended a price tag of INR180 billion ($3.2 billion); since then, operators have warned repeatedly that a high reserve price will lead to tariff hikes for end users.

EGoM has also suggested reining in the upper limit of the annual spectrum usage charge to 3%-6% of revenue, The Hindu reported; at present, GSM and CDMA operators pay between 3% and 8% of their revenues in usage fees.

"The Empowered Group of Ministers are going to make a specific recommendation on each of these issues to cabinet so that cabinet decides on it finally," said telecom minister Kapil Sibal, in the newspaper report.

However, the revised price has not moved far enough in the right direction to satisfy the GSMA.

"The Empowered Group of Ministers has taken the advice of India's business leaders, economists and mobile industry in consideration. However, this price range is still prohibitive and we remain concerned that over the long term it will hamper the delivery of high quality, affordable and innovative mobile services across the country," warned Anne Bouverot, director general of the industry body, in a statement.

"Alongside our member operators, we urge the cabinet to adhere to international best practice when taking a final decision, to bring the greatest benefits to India's economy, society and its people," she added.

The cabinet's decision is expected to be announced in the next two weeks. Even if there is broad agreement on the reserve price, the process will not be completed in time to meet the 31 August deadline established earlier this year by the Supreme Court after it ordered the cancellation of 122 licences on grounds the allocation process was mired by corruption.

Источник: Total Telecom

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