Spectrum wars: DoT likely to decide February 23 2015 as the date for auction, operators to battle it out

mobile-tower-indiaThe spectrum auction for telecom services is expected to start from February 23, 2015, a few days later than suggested by a ministerial group, according to a report. It is believed that Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will finalise the agency which will conduct the auction process, tomorrow.

The next round of auctions are set for spectrum held by mobile operators – Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Communication – as some of their licences are set to expire in 2015-16. The Notice Inviting Application (NIA) as per suggested time line will be issued on December 26.

As per the report, the inter-ministerial group, formed to work out modalities for the next round of auction, had suggested February 3 as the date for starting the bidding. The NIA is the main document of spectrum auction which carries all details of radio waves being put for sale, rules, price etc and is legally binding on both government as well as bidders.

The government is also mulling auctioning some amount of 3G spectrum along with radio waves in three sets of spectrum band — 800 MHz (used by CDMA operators) that is lying unused, along with 900 MHz and 1800 MHz being used by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communication for 2G services across the country, according to a report. With this, Narendra Modi government expects to raise a minimum of Rs 9,355 crore from the auction of three sets of available spectrum.

Also read: Spectrum Auction: TRAI to submit views on spectrum pricing in 15 days

On the other hand, it is expected that government will raise Rs 5,000 crore from auction of 3G spectrum in the 2100 MHz band, provided the Defence Ministry vacates it.

Yesterday, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to discuss the vacation of 3G spectrum. Though Prasad did not share whether the 3G radio waves will be available for auction, he said that the matter will be resolved very soon.

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