Airtel, Vodafone hurriedly allocated excess spectrum, Rs 508 cr loss to exchequer: CBI

As per Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), current telecom operators Bharti Airtel (earlier known as Bharti Cellular) and Vodafone India (earlier known as Hutchison Max & Sterling Cellular) were sold additional spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz, up to 10 MHz, in unnecessary hurry in January 2002.

As per its report of the then communication minister Pramod Mahajan bypassed the opinions of the member (finance), the wireless adviser and even the highest decision-making body in the DoT and allocated extra spectrum to these companies in undue haste. The decision led to a loss of Rs 508 crore to the exchequer.

How the loss has been calculated?

  • The current revenue share for telecom companies during the period under investigation was pegged at 4% for 6.2-8 MHz and 8-10 MHz spectrum, with no differential rates. Only those with more than 10 MHz spectrum were charged 5 %. As per the DoT the difference – if the rate was pegged at 5 % instead of four percent would have been Rs 508 crore to the exchequer.

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