TTSL to hand over spectrum

18 Apr 2013

Tata Teleservices (TTSL) has announced that it will return airwaves above the 2.5MHz limit in 15 circles rather than pay out INR115.27 billion (USD2.14 billion) under the government’s plan to levy a one-off fee on excess spectrum. The Economic Times writes that the telco will trim back to just 2.5MHz in 15 circles, but will retain 3.75MHz in Delhi and Mumbai and pay the fee for holding the additional airwaves. TTSL said that it made the decision ‘under protest’, arguing that the government’s decision was illegal, as it violated licence conditions. A statement from TTSL said: ‘We are constrained to take this decision, in order to minimise the financial exposure considering the present challenges in the economic scenario, regulatory and legal uncertainties. Accordingly we have decided to pay under protest the one-time charge for 1.25MHz for Delhi and Mumbai for the balance period of licences.’ The secretary general of industry group the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) commented on TTSL’s move: ‘When the government sucks the industry dry, operators will have no option but to return airwaves. It is yet another indication that airwaves are priced too high in India.’