Minister rejects Vodafone’s 3G plea for more spectrum

6 Feb 2015

Indian telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has reportedly rejected a request from UK-based Vodafone Group for an additional 15MHz of 3G spectrum currently being held by the armed forces to be included in the upcoming frequency sale scheduled to take place next month. According to the India’s Economic Times, the minister was said to have told Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao at a meeting earlier this week that ‘the department cannot auction airwaves it doesn’t possess’.

Meanwhile, Mr Colao is also said to have raised concerns over the reserve price for 3G-suitable spectrum; as reported by CommsUpdate last week, India’s cabinet approved a reserve price of INR37.05 billion (USD603.21 million) per MHz for spectrum in the 2100MHz band in the upcoming frequency auction, set to take place on 4 March. A person privy to the meeting between the Vodafone chief and the telecoms minister was cited as saying: ‘Colao said that while world over the base price of spectrum was falling, India was on an opposite path of increasing the base price.’ As such, Mr Colao was said to have argued that high spectrum prices would mean that operators would not have enough resource left to invest in infrastructure, leading to lower-quality infrastructure across the country.

India, Vodafone Group, Vodafone India