PM, Raja discuss 3G spectrum auction

PM, Raja discuss 3G spectrum auction
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First Published: Wed, Jun 10 2009. 02 48 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jun 10 2009. 02 48 PM IST
New Delhi: Setting the ball rolling for 3G mobile telephony, telecom and IT minister A.Raja on Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the agenda for launching the much-awaited services and auction of spectrum.
Official sources said that Raja met Singh in the morning and briefed him about the ongoing issues, including roll-out of 3G and wireless broadband (Wimax) services.
The department of telecom (DoT) has to decide on the reserve price for spectrum as it had differences with finance ministry. The matter may be taken directly to the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) or will be referred to a group of ministers (GoM).
DoT had proposed a reserve price of Rs2,020 crore for an all-India spectrum of five MHz, while the finance ministry had pegged it at around Rs4,040 crore.
Asked whether the reserve price of spectrum came up for discussion between Raja and Singh, sources said that the minister mentioned about the number of players to be considered for 3G in the first round of auction of spectrum and its pricing.
Raja had earlier said that he would like to start the process of auctioning of spectrum within three months and roll out the services by the end of this calendar year.
3G allows users access to high-speed data and voice services. State-run BSNL and MTNL are the only two operators to offer this next generation service in the country, while private players are awaiting spectrum to be apportioned.
Raja had earlier said that he would look for clarity on issues such as whether a GoM that looked into 3G spectrum auction would continue to review the matter or would it now go to the CCEA.
“Within two months after that, the auction process will start,” he had said.
Mobile number portability, which would allow users to switch operators without changing numbers, will also begin in October, sources said, adding that all these developments were discussed by Raja with the Prime Minister.
“By and large the effort would be to continue with policies initiated in the last tenure,” a source said, who termed the meeting as a courtesy call.
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First Published: Wed, Jun 10 2009. 02 48 PM IST
More Topics: 3G | Telecom | IT | A.Raja | Manmohan Singh |