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3G auction in Jan next year; foreign cos allowed to bid

Last Updated: Saturday, October 24, 2009 - 23:23

New Delhi: The government on Saturday said foreign
firms would be allowed to bid for spectrum for third
generation mobile services and will start auctioning the radio
waves from January 14, 2010.

"Interested foreign entities are allowed to participate
in the auctions directly and apply for licences subsequently,"
the revised Information Memorandum, giving details about
eligibility criteria and time schedule said.

Foreign entities can operate telecom services in India
only through an Indian subsidiary with not more than 74 per
cent foreign share holding, subject to the approval of the
Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has said the auction of
3G spectrum would be carried out in four stages --
invitation stage, pre-qualification, auction and grant of

The DoT would hold a pre-bid conference on November 16
and the mock auction would be conducted on January 11-12 next

"The auction of 3G spectrum would start on January 14,
2010," the DoT said, adding that this is an indicative time
schedule and subject to revision.

According to the revised schedule, there is a slippage of
over two weeks compared to the original plan as announced by
the Empowered Group of Ministers.

Firms have to submit bids by December 21 for a total of 71 blocks of spectrum put up for auction across 20 of India`s 22 telecoms zones, according to a memorandum to prospective bidders.

The document is available at:

The auction, which would introduce high-speed Internet and video downloads on mobile phones, was originally slated for January 2009 but was deferred to December after differences between the telecom and finance ministries over the reserve price for the bids.

The government did not give a reason for the second extension.

The base price for 3G spectrum across the country is 35 billion rupees (USD 750 million), and Telecoms Minister Andimuthu Raja has said the government would net at least 250 billion rupees from the sale.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, October 24, 2009 - 23:23
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