Empowered Group of Ministers slashes base price for 1,800 Mhz auction

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An inter-ministerial group has recommended slashing of the base price for 1,800 mega hertz (Mhz) spectrum by 30 per cent in four circles, following a lack of interest from telecom operators.

1,800 Mhz auction

The EGoM, which was set up to review the pricing of telecom spectrum, slashed the prices of the radio waves to Rs 14,000 crore as against Rs 18,000 crore fixed at the previous auction.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, has suggested slashing of prices in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan.

Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal confirmed the development to reporters after the EGoM meeting on Friday, and added that the auction process will be completed before the end of the financial year.

The 2G spectrum auction in November had only garnered Rs 9,407 crore, as against the Rs 28,000-crore target. In the auction, the reserve price of spectrum cross the unsold circles for 1,800 Mhz were Rs 693.06 crore for Delhi, Rs 678.45 crore for Mumbai, Rs 330.12 crore for Karnataka and 67.08 crore for Rajasthan.

"We will now be moving the cabinet for the approval on the pricing and we have also decided that we will complete the auction process within this financial year,” he added.

In 2008, 2G start-up spectrum was assigned as per the provisions of the Unified Access Service License (UASL). No separate upfront charges were levied for allotment of 2G spectrum.

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