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Government should make available more spectrum: Sunil Mittal

Bharti group chairman Sunil Mittal on Thursday said the telecom industry wants more spectrum and the government should make it available.

“We want from the government more spectrum. Every country has the same amount of spectrum and it is not that India has less… It needs to be vacated from other places, that is what other countries have also done,” Mr Mittal said on the sidelines of the India Economic Summit here.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, on October 15 gave its recommendation on spectrum auction for premium 900 Mhz band and 1800 Mhz band that are currently being used for 2G GSM mobile services by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.

Government has proposed to put for auction about 184 Mhz of spectrum in 900 Mhz band which is held by these companies through their various licences expiring in 2015-16. The four telecom operators will have to buy spectrum afresh to continue their services.

“I would say government should make available enough spectrum so that there is a balance between spectrum pricing,” he added.

On being asked whether the spectrum auction – scheduled for February 3 – should be deferred, Mr Mittal said, “Why should this be deferred? Industry wants more spectrum and the government should make it available to them.”

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