A day ahead of a crucial Telecom Commission meeting on the auction of 2G spectrum, service operators on Wednesday warned the government and customers, saying the the high reserve price for spectrum, recommended by the telecom regulator, will lead to steep tariff hikes.
The Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, the CDMA operators' body, said mobile services could become dearer by 28 paisa per minute if the recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India are accepted in their current form.
The industry body of GSM service providers, Cellular Operators Association of India, said mobile charges will go up by 26 paisa per minute.
Trai has proposed a reserve price of Rs 3,622 crore for auction of 2G spectrum (1,800 Mhz), much higher than the Rs 1,657 crore (Rs 16.57 billion) operators paid at the time of the previous allocation.
The regulator has also suggested double the base price of airwaves in the 800 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands to Rs 7,244 crore per unit for pan-India bandwidth.
The tariff hike claims of both the industry bodies are much higher than the estimates set out by Trai in its recommendations.
Trai in its "Recommendations on Auction of Spectrum", released on April 23, said the estimated cost per minute could go up by 4.4 paise due to the auction of spectrum.
The current call charges vary from 50-60 paisa per minute.
A committee of the department of telecommunications, set up to look into the recommendations, has suggested an increase in the reserve price. Reviewing the recommendations, the DoT committee suggested that the reserve price for second-generation airwaves in the 1800 MHz band be revised to Rs 4,245