DoT to start 2G spectrum auction next month

Telecom Lead India: The department of telecommunications
(DoT) is planning to start 2G spectrum auction in mid-June.


The government has already begun to move in this
direction and will meet the Telecom Commission, the decision-making authority,
on Monday to discuss the way forward.


The auction process will start after the government firms
up its view on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s
recommendations and gets them vetted by the empowered group of ministers
(EGoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.


The EGoM has been notified for taking a call on issues
relating to the terms of 2G auction, including allocation and spectrum pricing.


“Once we firm up our view and get the Trai’s final
recommendations, we will take this to the EGoM. We have a meeting with the
Telecom Commission on April 30. After that, we will go back to Trai with our
initial views. Once we get their final view, we will analyze it and place it
before the EGoM,” R Chandrasekhar, secretary of DoT, told PTI.


The process of getting an approval from the EGoM would
take around one-and-a-half months. Simultaneously, the government has initiated
the process of selecting the auctioneer.


“Once these preliminary decisions for the conduct of
the auction are taken and the auctioneer is in place, then the two will be put
together and the auction process will begin near the middle of June,”
Chandrasekhar added.


The government is looking to repeat the success of third
generation (3G) auction held in 2010 and has reportedly roped in the man who
was at the helm of it the former joint secretary of the DoT J S Deepak. The DoT
had beaten its target of raising Rs 35,000 crore from the 3G auction when it
actually realized Rs 106,219 crore through the bidding process.


In its recommendations brought out on April 23, Trai has
advised the DoT to engage an auctioneer for three years. Many international
auctioneers and merchant bankers are already keenly watching developments in
the space to be a part of it.


The Supreme Court last week had directed the DoT to carry
out auction of the spectrum and licences by August 31. The government had filed
an interlocutory application with the apex court, expressing its inability to
conduct the auction of cancelled licences by June 2 and had asked for 400 days
to complete the process.


Uninor, Videocon, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone knock telecom ministry


Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Uninor and Videocon have
approached Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal expressing their concerns over TRAI’s
spectrum recommendations.


CEOs of these five telecom companies said the reserve
price proposed by the telecom regulator should be reduced by at least 80


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