New Delhi: Spectrum to new players was given on fixed licence fees and not auctioned as per the recommendations of telecom regulator TRAI, Communication Ministry, target of criticism on the subject, said on Friday.
Responding to queries from the Central Vigilance Commission amid allegations from political parties that Rs50,000 crore was squandered in distribution of spectrum, Telecom Ministry said it had gone by the book and had done nothing wrong.
“In the context of auction of 2G spectrum, TRAI had observed that any differential treatment to a new entrant vis-a-vis incumbent will go against principle of level playing field,” DoT said in its reply to the Central Vigilance Commission.
When contacted, DoT senior officials said in the 2G (existing mobile services) band allocation through auction may not be possible as the service providers were allocated spectrum at different times of their licences and the amount of spectrum with them varies in quantity.
“Therefore, TRAI felt that to decide the cutoff after which the spectrum should be auctioned will be difficult and might raise the issue of level playing field,” DoT said in a five-page point-by-point reply to the CVC.
Replying to another query with regard to the sale of stakes by two new operators - Swan and Unitech - allegedly at huge premium, DoT said that “the promoters of these companies have not sold their share holding but made strategic partnership for investment in the company.”