Withdrawals leave India with no bidder for CDMA frequencies

6 Nov 2012

Reuters reports that Tata Teleservices has pulled out of a spectrum auction in India. Tata’s withdrawal follows that of Videocon’s, and leaves the country with no bidders for the CDMA-based part of the auction. ‘Now there is no bidder left for CDMA. We will have to take a call on what to do,’ said a senior government official who declined to be named. Tata will lose its operating permits in three of India’s 22 telecoms circles, and a source with direct knowledge was quoted by Reuters as saying that Tata does not see ‘a strong business case’ in buying back frequencies to operate in those circles.

The spectrum auction has been organised after the Supreme Court ordered all wireless concessions to be revoked after a sale in 2008 was found to be flawed. The base price for 5MHz of GSM spectrum is reportedly seven times what was paid in 2008, while the base price of CDMA spectrum is said to be 1.3 times that of the GSM airwaves.

The auction for GSM frequencies is due to begin on 12 November.