New Delhi: Differences over the number of private players to be allowed to offer 3G mobile services continue within the government as an empowered ministers’ panel on Tuesday failed to reach any consensus.
The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met in New Delhi to finalise the notice inviting applications (NIA) from potential operators to participate in the forthcoming auctioning for 3G spectrum.
The EGoM had decided in its last meeting that four blocks of 3G spectrum would be auctioned whereas the draft NIA document projected only three blocks.
The Defence Ministry, according to sources, has already vacated 10 MHz of spectrum and five more MHz would be released by August this year, so this makes airwaves sufficient only for three private operators besides BSNL/MTNL, which have already started services on commercial basis.
“Some of the issues were discussed at the EGoM. Still some of the issues between the Defence and DoT are yet to be resolved. The Chairman (Mukherjee) took all the views. He will decide. If necessary, another consultation will take place otherwise he will decide,” Telecom Minister A. Raja told reporters after the meeting.
Asked whether the time line for auction of 3G spectrum would be pushed further, the Minister said, “As of now it has not been pushed ... there are a number of differences... but it will be resolved.”
First Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 17:25