State owned telecom service provider BSNL, which was reportedly looking to surrender its BWA(Broadband Wireless Access) spectrum, has got an approval from India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT), according to The Economic Times, which has quoted the Telecom Secretary R Chandrasekhar to confirm the development. It cites a senior official to add that the Government might go ahead with a fresh round of auctions to sell the surrendered spectrum.

According to Chandrasekhar, BSNL has not yet finalised details such as the number of circles for which it wants to return the spectrum, since that would also depend on factors like price of spectrum in a circle and whether network equipment has been installed or not. He said that BSNL, unlike other operators, was given spectrum without the price being fixed in a number of circles, which makes it an unviable proposition for the telco. He informed that the government was working out details with BSNL for the refund of the auction price. BSNL had paid Rs 8,313.80 crore to acquire spectrum in 17 circles.

Earlier, it was reported that BSNL had written a letter to the DoT, conveying its intent and had said that it only wanted to retain spectrum in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana service areas. It had also mentioned that the spectrum alloted to it was in a non standardized frequency band, which would hamper its prospects.

As we pointed out in the earlier post, it’s strange that Reliance Industries owned Infotel, Bharti, Aircel, Tikona, Augere and Qualcomm had won spectrum in a standard 2.3 GHz frequency band at almost the same cost per circle, while BSNL got spectrum in a non-standard 2.6 GHz band. The telecom secretary has hinted that the surrendered spectrum will be merged with spectrum available for auction for the next round, fetching the Government more revenue, while the ailing telco would get some funds for meeting its expenditure.

BSNL Wants To Surrender BWA Spectrum: Report