New Delhi: Government on Thursday said it will allow foreign telcos to bid on their own without a domestic partner for the 3G spectrum but they have to find a local player before starting services.
As per the Indian laws, foreign companies can own up to 74% stake and thus they would be required to form a joint venture with an Indian company before starting the services, Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura told reporters.
“The foreign telcos can bid on their own for the 3G spectrum but before rolling out services they should find an Indian partner,” he said.
The foreign players want DoT to allow them to bid as 100% foreign entities or give them a minimum of six to seven months after announcement of bidding details to enable them form JV with Indian firms before the spectrum is auctioned.
This, if allowed, can derail the 3G process rolled out by the government and further delay launch of the much awaited next generation mobile services in India.
However, Behura assured that the auction process would be on time.
Amendments made by DoT to the guidelines on companies that can offer 3G mobile-phone services said that new entrants would have to payan additional Rs1,650 crore to acquire a basic licence in addition to the money they bid for spectrum needed to offer 3G services.
The foreign telecom operators who are interested in entering India’s market to provide 3G telecom services have to shell out Rs 3,700 crore more than the existing licence holders.