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Sinha warns PM of another 2G scam

Expressing dismay at the new reserve price of spectrum set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Sinha dashed off a letter to Singh pointing out the inherent ‘contradictions’ in the move.

In his letter, Sinha said that the proposed steep reduction in spectrum reserve price and spectrum usage charges (SUC) will favour few operators at the cost of national exchequer.

Sinha has pointed out that TRAI has reduced the price of 1 MHz of spectrum pan-India by 37 per cent, and the reduction is much steeper for key circles like Mumbai and Delhi at 50 per cent. The former finance minister noted that these recommendations of TRAI contradict its own arguments.

Last year, TRAI had defended and justified the reserve price of Rs. 3,622 crore for pan-India 1 MHz spectrum in 1800 MHz band. It had also insisted that impact of recommended reserve price on telecom tariff to subscribers will be negligible, Sinha added.

‘I fail to understand why the same body now has junked its own recommendations within one year and has recommended such a steep reduction in the reserve price. This is not expected from a sector specialist regulator,’ Sinha said. BJP did not buy TRAI argument that steep reduction has been done for forthcoming auctions as the auctions held in November 2012 and March 2013 had been failures. Sinha said auctions had failed due to collusion and cartelisation of the incumbent operators and not high prices.
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