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Telenor India won’t participate in spectrum auctions citing high prices

Telenor India will not be participating in the upcoming 2016 Indian spectrum auctions because it believes (quarterly results pdf) that the proposed spectrum prices do not give “an acceptable level of return." A Telenor spokesperson told MediaNama that its India unit needs more spectrum to be able to maintain and develop a healthy business in the future, but the prices for spectrum “were too high” to maintain an adequate return on investment. Last month, the cabinet approved telecom spectrum auctions in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands, which could fetch the government and estimated Rs 5.6 lakh crore. Pricing for spectrum was fixed as per TRAI’s recommended reserve prices of Rs 11,485 crore per MHz for pan India airwaves, including the 700 MHz spectrum, which is being auctioned for the first time. The decision comes even after Telenor had a reported a slightly better financial results during this quarter (Q2 2016). It had reported total India revenue of 1.551 billion Norwegian Krone (NOK) (~$181.9 million) for Q2 2016, a 13% increase from NOK 1.362 billion in the same quarter last year. While its operating loss in India stood at NOK 132 million (~$15.4 million) in this quarter, which reduced from NOK 3232 million in the previous quarter (Q1 2016). Operations in India will continue: However, Telenor said it will continue to operate in India: “We will continue our efforts to meet customer demands and grow the business based on the current spectrum holding. As we…

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