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The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), a telecom industry lobby which includes the largest telecom operators in India (Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular), and had inducted Google and Facebook as members in the last one year, has expressed disappointment over the exorbitant winning price points for the operators at the latest spectrum auctions that concluded yesterday.

Given that the telecom industry in India is already under a debt of Rs 2.5 lakh crore, the Rs 1.1 lakh crore the eight participating telcos bid for spectrum across 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands during the 19 day long auctions is likely to further burden the industry.

COAI Director General Rajan Mathews mentioned in a statement that the increased financial burden will lead to the industry’s cost structure being changed drastically, will leave the operators with no choice but to increase the tariffs in order to meet the financial commitments to the government.

It’s worth noting that the provisional winning bids for the 900 MHz band were 81.4% higher than the reserve price, 26.5% higher than the reserve price for the 800 MHz band, 7.8% higher than the reserve price for the 1800 MHz band, and only the 2100 MHz band attracted bids 42.4% lower than the reserve price.

Also Read: India’s Spectrum Auction ends: Rs 1.09 lakh crore in bids, 37% above reserve price