Technology

Govt fixes Rs 35 bn as base price for 3G auction

MUMBAI: The government has fixed the base price of third generation (3G) spectrum at Rs 35 billion per slot.









The decision, taken by the empowered group of ministers (e-GoM), also states that only five operators will be allowed in the first phase auction to offer the high-speed mobile services.



This effectively means that only four new players will be given spectrum in the first phase, as state-run operator BSNLMTNL, is already offering 3G services in their respective circles.


 

Additionally, the base price for pan-India WiMax (wireless Internet) spectrum has been fixed at Rs 17.5 billion. The number of licences in first phase is restricted to three by the e-GoM, which was headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.



Telecom Minister A Raja said that the auction will be complete within three months. ?The government will complete the auction of 3G spectrum within three months and expects to raise Rs 250 billion,? Raja told reporters.



Indiantelevision.com had earlier reported that BSNL and MTNL would have to match the price quoted by successful bidders in each circle.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia were also part of the e-GOM.


The much awaited 3G spectrum auction was getting delayed as the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Finance Ministry were not agreeing on the base price. DoT had recommended Rs 20.20 billion as base price, whereas Finance Ministry wanted it to be higher at Rs 40.40 billion. However, the e-GoM, it seems, went for its own pricing.

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