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The $79 Billion Airwaves Dilemma Vexing India’s Telecom Barons

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The upcoming spectrum auction from TRAI could fetch $ 79 billion for sale of airwaves in 700 Mhz, with top telecom service providers competing in the auction leaves them with huge debts.

“The total amount is both staggering and ridiculous,” said Chris Lane, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong, who pointed out that China provides low-cost airwaves to encourage investment. “Operators are already struggling under the weight of the previous two auctions” in India, he said.

“We can’t afford to buy that spectrum at that price,” Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel’s managing director for India and South Asia, said in an analyst call Jan. 29. The 700 megahertz frequency would be “very, very expensive,” he said. Read more

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Sweekar S

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