Telecom spectrum auction postponed to March 4

New Delhi, Jan 27 The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said the auction for 2G and 3G telecom spectrum will be deferred to March 4 from February 25.

The telecom ministry — headed by telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and team — is yet to arrive base price for 3G spectrum. The development shows the lack of expertise at telecom ministry.

The last date of submissions of applications is now Feb 16 — postponed from Feb 6 as declared earlier.

Indian telecom service providers such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Infocomm, among others, are likely to participate in the 2G and 3G spectrum auction.

The Union government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a bid to manage its deficit budget, will auction 380.75 MHz spectrum in 800, 900 and 1800 MHz — 103.75 MHz in 800 MHz band, 177.8 MHz in 900 MHz band and 99.2 MHz in 1800 MHz band in March. It will also try to sell 5 MHz in the 2100 MHz band (for 3G services) in 17 out of 22 telecom areas.

The reserve price approved is Rs 3,646 crore pan-India per MHZ in 800 MHz, Rs 3,980 crore for 900 MHz band pan-India excluding Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Jammu and Kashmir; and Rs 2,191 crore pan-India (excluding Maharashtra and West Bengal) in 1800 MHz band, the ministry said earlier.

But the government is yet to fix the reserve price for 2100 MHz. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on December 31 had recommended a base price of Rs 2,720 crore per megahertz for 2100 Mhz band as against pan-India reserve price of Rs.3,500 crore per MHz in the 2010 auction of 3G spectrum, IANS reported.

In December 2015, seven licences each of Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications, four licences of Bharti Airtel and six licences of Vodafone will complete their 20-year term after which they should be renewed.

The Union Government is targeting Rs 64,840 crore (excluding 2100 MHz spectrum) of which Rs 16,000 crore is expected to be realised in the current financial year (2014-15) from the spectrum auction. The revenue target from spectrum auction set by the government in the 2014-15 budget is Rs 45,471 crore.