Telecom operator Vodafone has called the government's recently announced norms on spectrum auction as ''coercive'' and ''unreasonable''.
In a letter to telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar, the company said compulsory participation in the auctions is "coercive in nature, at an exorbitant price and on unreasonable terms".
Vodafone's resident director T V Ramachandran said in the letter, ''We are deeply concerned with these developments as these are unfair, discriminatory, contrary to the terms of licence and against the public interest.''
On 13 December the cabinet approved new bidding norms for spectrum in the the 1,800-Mhz band, setting the reserve price at a discount of 30 per cent in four circles - Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan - where spectrum could not be sold and gave the go-ahead for a fresh round of bidding.
The next round of auctions, estimated to earn the government about Rs20,000 crore, will be completed by March.
In case of licences due for extension in 2014 such as that of Vodafone, these companies can be assured of 2.5 Mhz in the 900-mhz band and licence in the 1,800-mhz band only if they participate in the auctions.
''They, in effect, are coercing participation in the auction,'' said Ramachandran.