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Easier 3G bidding for foreign firms

Easier 3G bidding for foreign firms
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First Published: Fri, Sep 19 2008. 12 02 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Sep 19 2008. 12 02 AM IST
New Delhi: The government has allowed foreign telecom operators to bid for the 3G spectrum without an Indian partner. However, the foreign firms would have to tie up with a local firm and fulfill conditions relating to FDI norms and UAS license before they can roll out their services.
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“Foreign telecom companies don’t even need to form a company before they bid. Only before they start telecom services they need to fulfill certain conditions required for UAS license,” says telecommunications secretary Siddhartha Behura.
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.
The foreign players had asked the department of telecommunications to allow them to bid as 100% foreign entities or give them a minimum of six to seven months to tie up with Indian firms before the auction of the spectrum.
Speaking at a service providers’ conclave in New Delhi, Behura also said the telecom department would open bids within a week for appointing an agency to oversee the process of choosing operators for Mobile Number Portability.
This means by June next year, mobile phone users in metro cities will be able to retain their phone number even if they change operators.
“We’ll take three months to appoint operators from date of issue of bid document and it would take six months for it to be operational in the metros,” Behura said.
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First Published: Fri, Sep 19 2008. 12 02 AM IST