New Delhi: The government will listen to mobile phone operators’ concerns before finalizing plans to slap new fees on second-generation spectrum, the telecom minister said on Friday.
The telecom regulator earlier this week called for companies to pay a one-time fee for 2G radio-spectrum with high bandwidth they won several years ago, a move that will hit established operators and has seen their shares skidding.
India’s leading mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel, which could face paying $1.4 billion if the new fees were adopted, has said the regulator’s proposals were “shocking, arbitrary and retrograde” and urged government to reject them.
Bharti and others, including Vodafone Essar, are locked in a multi-billion dollar bidding war for 3G spectrum that has exceeded forecasts.
“If necessary, patient hearing will be given to all stakeholders,” Union telecommunication minister Andimuthu Raja told reporters.
Raja also said he expected the ongoing 3G spectrum auctions to conclude in the next few days.
Bids for one set of nationwide third-generation (3G) mobile spectrum licences in India reached Rs15,000 crore ($3.33 billion) as of Thursday, an indication the government could earn revenue of more than Rs60,000 crore from the sale.