DELHI: The government hopes to earn over Rs 15 billion from
the auction of 839 FM radio channels in 294 cities.
and Broadcasting Ministry sources told indiantelevison.com
that it will hold ascending e-auction as recommended by the
Group of Ministers and followed in the case of 3G and BWA
by the Telecom Department.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended
reduction in the minimum channel spacing from 800 KHz to 400
KHz within a licence service area in FM radio sector in India.
The recommendation is under 'active consideration' of the
Ministry, the sources said.
the Phase III Policy, the permission for the channels would
be granted on the basis of non-refundable one-time entry fee,
that is, the successful bid amount to be arrived at through
an ascending e-auction process mutatis mutandis as recommended
by the GoM. The cost would be determined through price discovery
during the e-auction process.
e-auction, expected to begin early next year, may take another
two or three years in view of the large number of stations.
sources said apart from the problems that may arise because
of the first-time e-auction for which cabinet permission will
be sought in advance to avoid delays, issues such as charging
of migration fee from existing permission holders, and specific
departures in the Requests for Proposals (RFP) had not been
taken into account when the Cabinet had approved the Phase
III proposals on 7 July last year.
Information and Broadcasting Ministry has prepared a note
which has been circulated to the concerned ministries/departments
for their views, before it is put up before the Union Cabinet
in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is expected to call for tenders for
e-auction later this month. The pre-qualification for the
bidders is expected to be completed in another two months,
following which the qualified companies will be allowed to
participate in the e-auction for FM Phase III.
Phase-III Policy will extend FM radio services to about 227
new cities, in addition to the present 86 cities. Among the
four metros, only Kolkata is not getting any new FM channel.
While Mumbai will get two, Delhi and Chennai will get one
Phase-II currently in existence, 245 FM channels are operational
covering 86 cities, each with a population of over 300,000