EGoM on telecom may meet on Wednesday

Telecom Lead India: The Empowered Group of Ministers
(EGoM) on telecom is expected to meet on Wednesday, to discuss issues such as
the reserve price, usage charge, deferred payment options by operators and
rollout obligations.

EGoM is also expected to decide whether it will approach
the SC for an extension of the deadline, by when the department of
telecommunications (DoT) was supposed to complete the auction of 2G spectrum.

After the earlier EGoM meeting last Thursday, Telecom
Minister Kapil Sibal had indicated the DoT would try to meet the August

Indian telecom industry experts said the government is
unlikely to meet the deadline as DoT is yet to finalize reserve price and one
-time spectrum charge from existing operators.

A decision on the roll-out obligations are also likely to
be taken at the EGoM, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram. In the last
meeting, the matter was discussed but a decision deferred.

DoT, on July 13, discussed the issue of roll-out
obligations with leading operators such as Airtel, Vodafone, Uninor and MTS.
The EGoM wants operators to cover 20 percent of block-level headquarters by the
end of the second year and 30 per cent by the third year, according to agency

Telecom companies whose licences were cancelled have
opposed the network roll-out condition recommended by sector regulator TRAI and
this issue was one of the agenda for the earlier EGoM meet.

The meeting is expected to come out with some decisions
on deferred payments by successful bidders. Earlier, the Telecom Commission had
opposed the proposal to allow successful bidders to make the payment for
spectrum in installments. The EGoM is also expected to take a final call on the
spectrum usage charge for operators and on financial bid structure options for
selection of auctioneers.

In the earlier meeting, the EGoM had decided to allow
banks to auction spectrum mortgaged to them by operators in case of a default,
but did not arrive at a decision on the contentious issue of spectrum pricing.
Any decision on reserve price of the spectrum is expected to be put before the
full cabinet for final approval.

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