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2G base price decision likely on Sat; Telecom Comm for auctioning 10 MHz

The auction,due by August,follows a Supreme Court order to revoke a total 122 zonal telecom permits awarded to eight carriers in a scandal-tainted 2008 state grant process.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
May 25, 2012 1:21:54 am

The Telecom Commission,the country’s highest decision making body in the telecom ministry,wants a higher number of slots in an upcoming auction of 2G radio airwaves. The Commission,which met here on Thursday,is yet to take a decision on the auction base price and will meet again on Saturday,telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar,who also chairs the Telecom Commission,said.

The Commission wants at least 10 mega hertz (MHz) of airwaves to be auctioned in each telecom zone,higher than the 5 MHz suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). In case of the upcoming auction,a Group of Ministers has the final say on pricing and other rules.

The government will auction 2G airwaves for the first time to redistribute them among operators. The auction,due by August,follows a Supreme Court order to revoke a total 122 zonal telecom permits awarded to eight carriers in a scandal-tainted 2008 state grant process.

The Trai had last month suggested an auction starting price that is nearly 10 times of what carriers had paid in 2008 and also proposed limited number of slots in the auction.

Meanwhile,the government has decided to extend the deadline for submitting bids by prospective agencies to conduct e-auction of spectrum in 22 telecom service areas. Last dates for queries by prospective bidders,submission of bids have been extended,a notice by the Department of Telecom said. “(As regards) Notice of Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of agency for e-auction of spectrum in 22 telecom service areas in India,the important dates for this RFP are being revised,” it said.

“The new date of the pre-bid conference will be announced later,” the notice said. This development would make meeting the deadline set by the Supreme Court more challenging. The apex court had asked the government to conduct fresh auction within four months,which was later extended to August 31.

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