2G: Govt moves SC, seeks more time for spectrum auction
New Delhi: Faced with a June 2 deadline when 122 licenses for 2G spectrum will stand quashed, Government Thursday moved the Supreme Court stating that it will impact over 69 million mobile users as the auction process for radiowaves will take at least 400 days.
The Telecom Ministry virtually sought extension of time for cancellation of licenses in its application for clarification of the apex court's February 2 verdict quashing the 122 2G licenses allocated during the tenure of A Raja.
"As the licenses/spectrum can be issued only in and around March 2013 and the licenses stand quashed with effect from June 2, 2012, there will be an inevitable disruption in services for the subscribers of those license holders whose licenses stand quashed by virtue of the judgement of this court.
"It is respectfully stated that the total number of subscribers indirectly affected by the judgement of this court is over 69 million, representing almost 7.5 percent of the total mobile subscribers in India," the government said in its five-page application.
It informed the court that the auction process has commenced but it would take around 400 days for it to be completed.
"It is pertinent to point out that the Centre has attempted to draw up as expeditious a time line as is possible keeping in view the judgement of the Court. The estimated time for conduct of this auction is significantly lower than the 1560 days taken to conduct the 3G auction," it said.
"It is respectfully stated that this court in its judgement did not set any specific time line to the auction process as such time line may have undermined the auction process or resulted in auction failing to result in an optimal price discovery," it further said.
The Centre further said that it has undertaken a detailed examination of the steps involved in the conduct of the auction and that the process will take at least 400 days.
"It is respectfully stated that the governemnt is taking every posible and practicable steps to expediate the auction to be held in acccordance with the judgement of the Supreme Court," Government said.
"It is stated that the planning and execution of the 2G spectrum auction would be a far more complicated task because while the 3G spectrum auction was a green field exercise starting with a clean slate and no incumbents offering 3G services, the 2G auction will have to deal with both legacy issues as well as issues arising out of policy decision," it said.
"Pass appropriate clarificatory orders/ directions that the auction to be held pursuant to the judgement of the Court be conducted broadly in accordance with the manner set forth by it," it said.