COAI has stated officially that mobile tariffs may go up as telecom operators are expected to pass on to customers the burden of spectrum cost which would be incurred in the upcoming auction. As per source, the airwaves auction would be conducted in February 2015.
[quote cite=”Rajan S Mathews (Director General of COAI)”]There will surely be an upward pressure on tariffs as the debt burden of telecom players will increase post auctions hence the cost will be passed on to customers. Operators have to pay around Rs.40,000 crore for the spectrum even if they bought it on a reserve price in 900MHz and 1800MHz bands.[/quote]
TRAI had suggested a 10% base price which is higher for the next round of spectrum auction in the 1800MHz band. TRAI recommends a price of Rs.2,138 crore per MHz for the 1800MHz band and Rs.3,004 crore per MHz for 900MHz band which is a premium band. The spectrum auction which will be held next year will be conducted for radiowaves in 900MHz (premium) held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications through their licences that will be expiring in 2015-16.
As of now, various telecom operators have been demoting the freebies and discounted minutes in order to maintain a profit so that they can make it possible to pay at the auction. Various analysts presume that this trend may continue as telecom operators will have to pay fresh spectrum costs. In the auction that was held in February 2014, Marten Pieters (CEO of Vodafone India) stated that the telecom industry in India has reached a point where the tariffs need to increase every year to break even.Rs.62,162 crore was fetched at the February 2014 auction.