The Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued the Letter of Intent (LoI) to all the telecom players that participated in the March auction and is speeding up spectrum allocation to them.
“As of now, we are expediting to allocate the spectrum which has already been auctioned this year…The Letter of Intent has been issued to all,” telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told news agency PTI. The Union government got around Rs 1.1 lakh crore from the sale of air waves in four bands, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 Mhz, in March. The government put around 470 MHz of spectrum for sale in the four bands and about 11 percent of the air waves remained unsold.
According to a DoT official, some spectrum has already been allocated to operators while the process is on for the remainder. The Letter of Intent mentions the effective date for the spectrum. Eight telecom operators participated in the auction, which saw all of them winning air waves except Uninor. The government had received a total upfront payment of over Rs 32,300 crore from telecom players against the spectrum sold, well above the minimum outstanding due of Rs 28,835.34 crore.
Meanwhile, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar today asked the communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to first look into the BSNL’s frequent call drop issue rather than leading an attack on the Janata Parivar ahead of the upcoming assembly polls. He also said that the failure to keep a check on the condition of the state-run service might have the minister “dropped” (from the government.) “The BSNL’s condition is not good as the call drops in mobile phones have become a routine thing…please look into the call drop issue,” he said on the sidelines of Janata Durbar at his official residence.
“If the call drop problem festers it may so happen that you may be dropped (from the government),” Kumar said. Criticising saffron party’s frequent attacks on him, the CM said that going by the ferocity of the rival’s attack, it was clear that the BJP leaders have become “intolerant.” “The BJP leaders cannot tolerate anything which they don’t like and it was the reason behind the JD-U breaking away from the erstwhile ally two years ago,” the chief minister said. The saffron party’s concerted attack on him has “vindicated our stand to walk out from long standing alliance with it”, he added. Kumar also charged the BJP with making a “perverted” attempt to vitiate political situation in Bihar by trying to defeat the JD-U’s official candidates during last year’s bypoll in three Rajya Sabha seats.
It was to defeat the saffron party’s political designs that the JD(U) and other secular parties, including the RJD and Congress, joined forces to put up an alternative front, he added.