Under pressure, Bharti offers Rs2,650 crore for pan India spectrum

Under pressure, Bharti offers Rs2,650 crore for pan India spectrum

New Delhi: Under pressure from rival CDMA operators and government on the spectrum front, Bharti Airtel on 10 December offered Rs2,650 crore for all-India frequency as an initial bid that can be increased further.

In a surprise move, the country’s biggest GSM operator said this is a confirmed offer and it reserves the right to increase this bid in the event of an auction for such pan-India spectrum.

In a letter to the telecom secretary, DS Mathur, the company said: “It seems that a satisfactory outcome of the process underway seems unlikely and the issue is headed for a possible long litigation."

“The decision to allocate GSM spectrum to CDMA operators seems to be the additional amount that is being charged, we are left with no option but to follow the same practice, albeit at a more realistic amount than what has been currently proposed,“ said Akhil Gupta, joint managing director of the company.

The offer of Rs2,650 crore takes into account that Bharti Airtel would be given no worse off terms and conditions that are being proposed for dual allocation to CDMA operators in license fee and other matters, Gupta said.

“We await the issuance of letter from the department to immediately make the payment and seek this additional spectrum allocation," he said.

The quality of network to serve the growing customer base is of paramount importance and this offer should be seen in the light of the same, he said, adding that denying GSM operators a clear path to grow would derail internationally acclaimed success story of India’s telecom sector.

“While attempts are being made to choke the GSM operators of their spectrum needs, the CDMA operators are being happily conferred additional spectrum beyond the highest entitlement," he added.