After a meeting of telecom operators with telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raju, market leader Bharti Airtel today termed as "lopsided" the recommendations of sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on spectrum charges, saying it was not liable for "one time charges" for the frequency beyond 6.2 MHz.
Demanding a level playing field for the old operators, Bharti group chairman Sunil Mittal told newspersons, "Our view is that the spectrum given to us and other operators from time to time is under a policy and there is no question of any additional payment for this."
TRAI has suggested that the operators be charged one-time payment for holding extra spectrum beyond the contractual limit of 6.2 Mhz, and that this payment should be linked to the price of the faster 3G spectrum, for which auction was held recently.
Mittal said Bharti has been paying extra spectrum charges on the additional spectrum for years now, and there is no rationale for one-time charge for any spectrum held by the firm.
Asked if he would take up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said, "We have written to the regulator and the (telecom) minister. We have also seen the reports that the issue might be referred to an empowered group of ministers. I am very hopeful that justice will be done."
Mittal also slammed the regulator for suggesting that the operators must buy 2G spectrum at new price for their next licence period of 20 years as and when their old licences come up for renewal.