Tata Teleservices (TTSL) has offered to surrender the spectrum allocated to it without auction in around 15 circles before its merger with Bharti Airtel is approved by the Department of Telecom (DoT).
Spectrum in 800 Mhz bands can be used for 4G services but the airwaves held by Tata Teleservices across 15-16 circles can be used for 2G services as well and these frequencies cannot be transferred to Airtel, according to rules.
“In a meeting with DoT, Airtel and Tata Teleservices offered to surrender 2.5 megahertz of spectrum assigned to Tata Tele administratively in 800 Mhz band in all circles,” an official said.
Tata Teleservices is required to pay the present market rate to make the airwaves allocated without auction usable for 4G services or for transferring them to Airtel.
However, according to sources, given their debt condition, both Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Airtel are not willing to pay the market rate of the spectrum.
The total holding of TTSL in the 800 Mhz band could not be ascertained.
TTSL has a total of 178 Mhz spectrum across 800 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and 2100 Mhz bands across 19 circles, out which only 71.3 Mhz of the spectrum can be transferred to Airtel without paying market rate which is calculated based on the last auction price.
Debt-ridden loss-making firm Tata Teleservices and Bharti Airtel announced their merger in October 2017. The deal is on a no-debt, no-cash basis, implying Airtel is not taking over any of the about ₹40,000 crore debt of Tata Teleservices and is neither paying any cash.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the merger of Tata Teleservices with Bharti Airtel. The DoT has to give its final approval to the merger.―The Hindu Business Line