New Delhi: The department of telecom (DoT) will commence the auction process for the so-called 3G, or third generation, mobile phone services on Monday with a pre-bid conference for Indian and foreign companies.
The eligibility criteria require that a bidder shall not have any equity, directly or indirectly, in any telecom or Internet service provider (ISP) in the country. Similarly, a telecom firm or ISP shall not have any stake in the bidder.
DoT’s decision to hold a pre-bid conference comes amid a tussle between ministries of finance and telecom over the guidelines for 3G mobile services.
Last month, Union communications and IT minister A. Raja had asserted that the finance ministry was consulted on the financial implications related to 3G spectrum pricing. He had also said that the finance ministry has nominated its representative on the joint committee, which would oversee auctioning of the radio frequency.
Decision maker: Union communications and IT minister A. Raja. Michael Urban / AFP
Raja had said there would be “no deviation” in the schedule for auction of spectrum and roll out of services.
DoT has, however, set a tough condition that the bidder company should have the experience of having conducted at least five e-auctions in the last three years and the total value of all e-auctions conducted should be at least Rs2,500 crore.
The prospective bidders shall deposit a non-refundable processing fee of Rs50,000 and the company must have a minimum paid-up capital of Rs10 crore and a net worth of Rs25 crore, or equivalent, on the date of application.
DoT has set a target of starting 3G mobile services in the country by early next year. It has already allotted the frequency to state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). The two companies have started installing networks in their respective service areas.
The government is hoping to garner nearly Rs40,000 crore from the auction of spectrum for 3G services among domestic players such as Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Essar Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd, and a host of new mobile operators and foreign players.