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Telcos raise doubts on earnest money deposits, roll-out obligations at meet

All major telecom service providers including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea on Tuesday were present at the pre-bid conference held by the Department of Telecommunications for the upcoming spectrum auctions. According to sources, during the meeting, the telcos raised several doubts, such as those regarding the payment of earnest money deposits and roll-out obligations.

Officials said that the department has requested the bidders to submit written queries by January 15. The Department of Telecom has already released a notice inviting applications for the spectrum auctions in seven bands—700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500MHz—and the bidding is scheduled to begin on March 1. the auctions had only been approved last month by Union Cabinet for a total reserve price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore for 2,251.25 Megahertz (MHz) of spectrum assets.

Telecom operators will need to submit their application by February 5 in order to participate in the auction.

Brokerage BNP Paribas had, last week, said that the auction has turned into a buyer’s market, and may see “minimal competition” since it is expected that operators would be going after airwaves that yield the best value for money instead of focusing on renewing all expiring spectrum.

ICICI Securities, for its part, observed that the final prices are likely to be equal to the reserve prices due to significant supply of radiowaves, and likely limited demand for expiring radiowaves and bandwidth.

Telecom industry experts believe that the auction may not see aggressive bidding and that it would see telcos bid more to meet the continuity requirements of the industry rathen for major growth.

Provide incentives, fee waivers for 5G
Consultancy Deloitte on Wednesday said that the Centre has to consider offering a boost to telcos in the form of fee relaxations for 5G acquisitions. The New Indian Express

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