Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spectrum auction: Ministerial panel to meet today

An Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom is likely to meet again on Monday to deliberate upon several issues regarding spectrum auction. 

The EGoM, in its meeting on January 3, had discussed the auction plan prepared by the Department of Telecom (DoT) after the Cabinet approved the sale of unsold GSM spectrum in 1800 Mhz band and in the premium 900 Mhz spectrum band.

"The EGoM deliberated on several issues for about two hours, then decided to meet again on January 7 to further deliberate on the issues," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

"EGoM deliberated on 1800/900 MHz spectrum but it could not discuss CDMA (800 MHz). Auction does not seem possible by January 18 but will take place during this fiscal," a top source said.

The telecom companies, whose licences have been cancelled by the Supreme Court order are allowed to offer their services till January 18.

The government is learnt to be preparing fresh plans to auction the radiowaves that can fetch around Rs. 39,895 crore.

As per the proposal, the government could get around Rs. 25,316 crore from the auction in the premium 900 Mhz band, and Rs. 14,579 crore from auction of unsold spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band.

DoT may sell more spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan in the 1800 Mhz band, compared to the quantum it had earlier put up for auction that ended on November 14.

The government in the previous auction had put up only 10 Mhz for auction, divided in 8 blocks of 1.25 Mhz each, for Rs. 693.06 crore in Delhi and Rs. 678.45 crore in Mumbai, which attracted no bidders.

For the premium 900 Mhz band, which provides double coverage of the signals compared to signals in 1800 Mhz band, the government is learnt to have fixed minimum price of Rs. 970.30 crore per block for Delhi, Rs. 949.84 crore per block for Mumbai and Rs. 227.44 crore per block for Kolkata circle.

The government may auction 15 Mhz of spectrum in 900 Mhz band in Delhi and Mumbai circle and 12.5 Mhz airwaves in Kolkata.