M F Farooqui, secretary of the department of telecommunications (DoT), has made history. Under his leadership, the telecom ministry managed the most successful spectrum auction. This has come at a time when the country’s economic performance is one of the worst in last decade. He spoke to media just after the successful completion of the auction. Excerpts:
Q: What is the total revenue earned from the auction of spectrum? How much of it will come during this financial year?
A: The government will get Rs 61,162.22 crore from auction. During this financial year, we will get Rs 18,296 crore. This is due to the fact that the bidders of 900 Mhz will have to pay only 25% of the total price during this year, while winners of 1800 Mhz band will have to pay 33%.
Q: Some observers say that the high spectrum prices will have impact on tariff? Is it true that tariff will go up?
A: I do not expect much impact on tariff for consumers. When operators bid for spectrum, they bet of future. In India, Data segment is just opening up. Spectrum price also depends on a number of factors such as regulatory environment, economic conditions and competition.
Q: Do you think the right price of spectrum has been determined?
A: In this auction, we fixed a reserve price such that market forces can operate. Thus market price of spectrum was determined, which is also the right price.
Q: What happens to the spectrum that could not be sold?
A: We do not have any plans to sell it immediately. We will take a call later.
Q: Do you think spectrum usage charge (SUC) is very?
A: The auction also settles the issue of SUC. Before auction, the operators knew what SUC would be. I think this chapter is closed.