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Auction of 3G spectrum delayed

Auction of 3G spectrum delayed
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First Published: Mon, Jan 12 2009. 07 29 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jan 12 2009. 07 29 PM IST
New Delhi: The much awaited auction of 3G spectrum will be delayed as the Department of Telecom is yet to take the Cabinet’s approval on reserve price for radio frequency in the wake of differences among ministries.
A statement on the Department of telecom’s website says that, a revised timeline for auction of 3G and BWA spectrum will be notified shortly.
The auction itself for the 3G spectrum and wireless broadband services (WiMAX) was scheduled to start from 30 January. DoT may miss the date in the absence of CCEA nod.
Sources said that DoT is also seeking a legal opinion for 3G spectrum prices as the Finance Ministry had recommended 100 per cent hike in the price.
When contacted, a DoT official said that there was no decision as yet but confirmed that CCEA approval would be necessary to even start the process.
“Since the minister (A Raja) has already announced that CCEA would take a final call in view of inter-ministerial differences on the reserve price for 3G, there is no question of by-passing it,” they added.
Ministry of Finance had rejected DoT’s reserve price of Rs2,020 crore for pan-India 3G spectrum and had asked the department to double it, while the Ministry of Industry and Ministry of IT had endorsed DoT’s price.
The DoT is likely to take the matter to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) only next week and thus may not start the process for auctioning as per the revised schedule beginning 16 January.
The new dates will be the second time that the Dot has postponed the auction after announcing the dates in the information memoranldum on 12 December, 2008. Earlier the auction was to begin on January 16 which was then postponed by two weeks to 30 January. The final date of applications has been set at 15 January.
PTI contributed to the story
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First Published: Mon, Jan 12 2009. 07 29 PM IST