New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers is believed to have suggested setting a 20 percent lower base or bid start price at Rs 14,111-15,111 crore for the proposed spectrum auction, a move that may come as a relief to telecom operators.
"The EGoM has suggested a base price between Rs 14,111 - Rs 15,111 crore for the proposed spectrum sale," a source said.
This is about 20 percent lower than the Rs 18,000 crore reserve price for pan-India spectrum suggested by telecom regulator TRAI.
The high-powered panel, led by Home Minister P Chidambaram, has left the final decision on spectrum pricing, spectrum usage charge and terms of payment on the Cabinet.
These suggestions are being sent to the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a decision.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore per unit of spectrum, called MegaHertz, for the auction of spectrum vacated from Supreme Court cancelling 122 licences issued by the then Telecom Minister A Raja in 2008.
This base price translated to over Rs 18,000 crore for a pan-India spectrum for new companies.
Telecom companies bidding in the auction will pay to the government an annual fee for using airwaves, called spectrum usage charge, besides the price at which they buy the spectrum.
The industry had been pitching for a 80 percent cut in the reserve price as they felt TRAI recommended rates would lead to upto 100 percent hike in mobile telephone charges.