Another auction, another disappointment for India’s Department of Telecommunications.
A second round of 2G auctions was scheduled for March 11 but when the “List of Applicants” was published this week, it didn’t actually qualify as a list. Only one possible bidder signed up. Continue reading »
India’s latest 2G telecoms auction was, as beyondbrics reported, a giant flop – it raised barely a quarter of what the government had forecast, as operators balked at what they felt were sky-high reserve prices.
Ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s have both threatened sovereign credit downgrades if India doesn’t get its fiscal house in order, and the $7.3bn the government had been planning to raise through the auction was meant to be, at least partly, a measure of its ability to close up its massive fiscal deficit – estimated to be around 5.9 per cent of GDP. Continue reading »
Telenor has settled $1.76bn in loans of its Indian joint venture, Uninor – co-owned with real estate developer Unitech – in a sign that the Norwegian company is serious about staying in India despite sky-high 2G spectrum prices. Continue reading »
For a picture of the dire situation most Indian telcos find themselves in, look no further than Bharti Airtel’s quarterly results, released on Wednesday.
Despite a customer base – the world’s fifth-largest – that grew to over 250m, Bharti reported a 37 per cent drop in net profits in the quarter that ended in June, down to $138.5m from $220.8m during the same period last year on $3.5bn in revenues. That fell far below analyst expectations of around $221.2m. Continue reading »
It was not exactly a bolt from the blue. In a move that will have surprised nobody, the Indian government is to ask the Supreme Court to give it more time to arrange a repeatedly delayed rerun of its attempt to sell licences allowing telecoms companies to use so-called 2G spectrum. In spite of its predictability, the latest delay could be dire news for those companies, foreign and domestic, whose 122 licenses were cancelled in February. Continue reading »
Another day, another delay in the organisation of the upcoming 2G spectrum auction in India – a consequence of the corruption-plagued auction of 2008 that led to the jailing of the then-telecoms minister and the revocation of 122 spectrum licences.
On Monday, Sharad Pawar, farm minister, became the latest politician to throw a wrench into the political machine: he resigned from heading the so-called “empowered group of ministers” that has been convened in order to determine the base rates at which the spectrum is to be auctioned. Continue reading »
Less than a month after India’s telecoms regulator shook up the industry by announcing sky-high 2G spectrum prices for the upcoming auction, and on the same day that new research suggested such prices would put operators a further $50bn into debt, apparently the government isn’t quite satisfied – the rates, it seems, were not quite steep enough. Continue reading »
After years of staying out of the 2G scandal, the Indian prime minister seems to be taking a keen interest in the 2G spectrum auction. On Monday, local media reported that he would appoint a minister of state from his office to the committee that will decide the rules of the new auction.
So does that mean the proposed prices might be brought down a bit? Continue reading »