New Delhi: The first meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) constituted to take a decision on the pricing of spectrum for third-generation telecom services has got postponed, making the wait for 3G services in the country even longer.
The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, was scheduled to meet on 31 July.
The meeting got postponed as defence minister A K Antony, also a member of the EGom, will not be able to attend, according to sources close to the development.
The auction process has been delayed several times since January, when it was scheduled to happen.
The government constituted the EGoM on 13 July to look into matters relating to pricing spectrum and the number of operators to be allowed in each telecom circle.
Once the EGoM takes a decision, a fresh time line for auctions would be announced.
The key terms of reference of the EGoM are deciding the amount of 3G spectrum to be auctioned, annual spectrum charges and additional administrative charge, the number of operators in each telecom circle, the reserve price for 3G and broadband wireless services (WiMax), and the fee to be paid to the auctioneer.
Other members of the EGoM are communications minister A Raja, cabinet ministers P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, Veerappa Moily, Ambika Soni, Prithviraj Chavan, and Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The finance ministry has proposed a base price of Rs4,040 crore for 3G spectrum. The government has projected a revenue of Rs35,000 crore in the Budget of 2009-10 from the auction of spectrum.