Govt to seek extension of 2G auction deadline

The empowered group of ministers on telecom in its first meeting under its new chairman,home minister P Chidambaram

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2012 1:14 am

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on telecom in its first meeting on Thursday under its new chairman,home minister P Chidambaram,failed to reach a decision on the reserve price for the forthcoming auctions and a one-time levy on incumbent operators for the spectrum they hold.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal said that the government will approach the SC to seek an extension of the August 31 deadline for conducting the auctions and granting new licences,as ordered by the Supreme Court. The EGoM is expected to meet next on either July 16 or 17.

The panel,however,approve the proposal to allow operators to mortgage spectrum assigned to them to raise funds.

Earlier,the Reserve Bank of India and the department of financial services had approved mortgaging of spectrum on the condition that in case of default by the borrower,the bank should have the unfettered right to sell,transfer,assign,exchange or otherwise dispose of the spectrum. The EGoM added that the auction in such case should be done under DoT guidance.

Another highlight of the meeting was the presentation of Trai chairman Rahul Khullar on the impact of the high reserve price of Rs 18,110 crore. Khullar’s analysis suggests a tariff hike ranging between 5-10 paise.

He says that since the auction price amortisation is for 20 years it would not impact the financial health of mobile operators.

FE

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