3G spectrum auction on schedule: Raja

Last Updated: Friday, December 11, 2009 - 18:16

New Delhi: The auction of 3G spectrum is on
track and the empowered group of ministers (eGoM) will take
a decision on the number of slots to be sold, Telecom Minister
A Raja said on Friday.

"There is no change in auction schedule," Raja told
reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is scheduled
to auction 3G spectrum starting January 14.

Asked about the number of slots to be auctioned, Raja
said, "The eGoM will decide on the number of slots."

The government, yesterday, said the 3G telephony spectrum
available with it for sale could accommodate only three
operators as one slot has already been awarded to state-owned
MTNL (that operates in Delhi and Mumbai) and BSNL (rest of
India).
It had earlier planned to auction spectrum to four
private operators, in addition to the state-run firms.

It is believed that the decision comes in the wake of the
Ministry of Defence`s reluctance to vacate the designated
spectrum (air waves) for commercial use.

The government has fixed the reserve price of spectrum at
Rs 3,500 crore for pan-Indian 3G spectrum and Rs 1,750 crore
for Wimax (wireless Internet/broadband), which is expected to
fetch the government revenue of Rs 25,000 crore.

This could now fall short of estimates as it would have
to forgo at least Rs 5,250 crore due to cancellation of one
slot.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 11, 2009 - 18:16

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