Govt plans to offer 8-11 blocks of spectrum in 1800 Mhz band
New Delhi: The government plans to offer 8-11 blocks of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band in the upcoming auction of airwaves, which will allow at least two new operators to offer telecom services in the country.
However, this will be subject to the availability of spectrum in the requisite service areas.
"The government is looking to auction 8-11 blocks... 11 blocks will come in only where (spectrum) is available," a source in the Department of Telecom said, adding that 11 blocks are available only in 11 circles, excluding the metros.
The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) had met Tuesday to decide on modalities for auction of spectrum -- freed from cancellation of 2G licences by the Supreme Court.
The apex court had asked the government to auction the spectrum by August 31.
While the process will be initiated from August 6 with the issuance of Information Memorandum, other matters like pricing and roll out obligations are yet to be finalised by the high-powered panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
"Pricing itself will need a full discussion," sources said.
The sources said the EGoM had agreed that spectrum allocation be made for 20 years. "However, it is yet to be decided whether the pricing will be for 10 years or 20 years," they added.
The next meeting of the EGoM has been tentatively slated to be held later this month.
On the issue of refarming, sources said the EGoM was of the view that it should be done as per the National Telecom Policy.
"There is absolutely no confusion on refarming issue... One of the clauses in NTP is that refarming will be undertaken...Nothing has been decided by the EGoM which prevents or stops refarming," sources added.