BSNL, MTNL asked to pay Rs16,751 cr for 3G spectrum

BSNL, MTNL asked to pay Rs16,751 cr for 3G spectrum

New Delhi: The government is understood to have asked BSNL and MTNL to pay Rs16,750.58 crore for the 3G spectrum in their possession within the stipulated 10 days of the close of auction.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has written a letter to BSNL and MTNL asking them to pay Rs10,186.58 crore and Rs6,564 crore, respectively, for the 3G spectrum in their respective areas of operations, sources in the know said.

The two PSUs, however, when contacted, said they are yet to receive any communication from the DoT and would decide once they receive such a demand.

Asked whether they would make the payment within 10 days as per the payment schedule, both (BSNL and MTNL) replied cryptically saying an appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time.

BSNL and MTNL got 3G spectrum much ahead of private players and both PSUs are supposed to pay as per the final bid of the auction. MTNL offers services in Delhi and Mumbai while BSNL in rest of the country.

As per the final bid of 34-day long auction, which closed on 19 May, the bid for Delhi stood at Rs3,316.93 and Mumbai at Rs3,247.07 crore and all-India bid was Rs16,750.58 crore.

When contacted, BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal told PTI that “once we receive the communication, we shall discuss internally and decide." He had said on Thursday that BSNL had not sought any exemption from paying the spectrum fee.

Similarly, an MTNL official said “as and when we are asked by the DoT, we shall take an appropriate decision."

Both PSUs were given 3G spectrum almost a year ahead of private operators to overcome the nitty-gritties of the complex tendering process. The private operators, who recently concluded the auction, would be given spectrum in September this year.

Sources said that the DoT has also sent a formal communication to other operators who have won the bid in respective circles.

As per the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), issued by the DoT before auction, all the winners are supposed to make 100% payment within 10 days of close of auction.