3G spectrum auction: Telecom regulator for 22% lower base price

New Delhi, Dec 31 The telecom regulator Wednesday recommended a base price of Rs 2,720 crore per mega hertz (MHz) for pan India 2,100 MHz or 3G spectrum, which is 22 percent lower than the previous auction.

Leading 3G telecom operators in India include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL and Tata Docomo. India has around 60 million 3G subscriber base.

“Furthermore, the 15 MHz of spectrum in the 2,100 MHz spectrum being vacated by ministry of defence (MoD), in lieu of spectrum in the 1,900 MHz spectrum, should be auctioned in view of the in-principle agreement reached with the MoD, even if it is not available immediately,” the Telecom regulatory Authority of India said in a statement here.

This can be done as “actual assignments do not have to be made immediately”, it said. The actual date of assignment may be given in the notice inviting application.

The government in 2010 had auctioned 3G spectrum at pan-India reserve price of Rs.3,500 crore per MHz.

Telecom TowerThe regulator has recommended that the department of telecommunications (DoT) should take all measures to ensure that the 2,100 MHz spectrum which was earlier assigned to STEL in three service areas — Bihar, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh — is also put to auction.

STel had shut its business in India after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 licences in February 2012 in the 2G spectrum case.

The auction for 800, 900 and 1,800 megahertz bands is expected to be held in February. The department of telecom is also thinking of auctioning 3G airwaves along with these three bands.

“The roll-out obligations that were mandated in the 2010 auctions for spectrum in the 2,100 MHz band should be applicable for the upcoming auction of 2,100 MHz band; however, a period of three years (instead of five years) should be prescribed to meet these obligations,” it added.



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