New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) Telecom Minister A. Raja Monday denied allegations of corruption in the allotment of second generation (2G) spectrum in 2008, saying the government had followed recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
‘Since 1999, 2G spectrum was never auctioned. Even in the latest report of TRAI it did not recommend auction route to maintain level playing field between two sets of operators (pre-2008 and post-2008),’ said Raja in the Lok Sabha.
M. Thambidurai of the AIADMK had alleged that the government had lost Rs.1 lakh by distributing 2G spectrum at much cheaper prices in 2008. He said the Rs.70,000 crore collected from the auction of 3G spectrum showed this.
Raja, however, said spectrum was allocated as per the rules.
The minister told the house that 3G spectrum would be provided to all successful bidders by Sep 1 so that they can launch the services on a commercial basis.
While 2G is primarily for voice services, 3G will be used for both video and data transfer services, added Raja.
Two public sector operators, Bharat Sanchar Nagar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, were given spectrum ahead of the auction process for the private players in August 2008 on condition that they would pay a matching amount of the highest bid in their respective areas.
MTNL, which operates in Delhi and Mumbai, has paid around Rs.6,574 crore for 3G spectrum and launched its services in both the cities. BSNL, which has paid Rs.10,186 crore, operates in almost 463 cities of the country.