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Industry unhappy over lack of plans for 3G spectrum allotment scam

09, Apr 2010 By Pagal Patrakar

New Delhi. Major industry players in the telecommunications sector have expressed deep anguish and disappointment over seeming lack of plans for any scam during the auction of 3G spectrum. According to sources, companies were ready with kickbacks but were disappointed after being asked to participate in a competitive bidding process. The players are missing the complicity simplicity in the procedures that were seen during the auction of 2G spectrum.

“Auction? Competitive bidding!? Are we talking about spectrum allocation or IPL teams here?” wondered Reliance Communications representative, adding, “We would like the government to go back to the traditional ways of doing business.”

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According to reports, Department of Telecommunications has asked the mobile companies to take part in an online competitive bidding process that could continue for various days, whereas 2G spectrum was given away on first-come-first serve basis without any competitive bidding.

“Why complicate things? And why online? It’s not safe! Chinese hackers can hack into the bidding process. After Chinese mobiles, will we have Chinese spectrum as well? Maybe that’s why Defense Ministry doesn’t want to give away 3G spectrum.” the Airtel representative expressed his concerns and called for scrapping of the current tedious process in favor of the original method.

Even players like Etisalat, who ended up paying huge money to buy stakes from parties having 2G spectrum license like Swan Telecom, were in favor of following the 2008 method of 2G spectrum allotment, as they wished to ‘offset’ their earlier expenses.

Government officials have ruled out scrapping of the auction process, which went underway today morning, but have promised to look into the concerns of the participating players.

“It’s also the first time for us and we would like to learn from the process. We can understand that it appears completely unnatural if a deal worth billions of rupees is completed without any kickbacks or controversies, but let’s see; the process can take one month to complete.” said a DoT official.

“We will earn at least Rs. 45,000 crore through these auctions.” Telecom Minister A. Raja said.