New Delhi: A day after state-run MTNL launched 3G service, the Government today called for a pre-bid conference with the prospective private bidders of 3G spectrum auction on December 23, and announced that the online auction will take place on January 15 next.
“We have called the pre-bid conference on December 23 but some people have asked for a postponement of this date, maybe due to clarification or holiday season. But as of now, this is the plan. The e-auction date is January 15,” Sidhharth Behura, Telecom Secretary said here. The all-India reserve price of a 3G licence is Rs2,020 crore.
India, thus, became the latest nation to have 3G technology after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the service of state-run MTNL yesterday.
But private players, inclduing foreign ones, will have to bid for spectrum to be able to launch the service. BSNL and MTNL, who have been allotted one slot of spectrum each, will have to match the highest bidder in their respective circles.
Asked about the possible number of players in each circle in view of spectrum scarcity, Behura said, “If spectrum is not available in some circles, how can it be auctioned? Whatever spectrum is available subject to the maximum number of four. But we will have to take a decision on the number of slots to be auctioned. Telecom Commission meeting which is scheduled next will take a call on that.”
There is one circle - Rajasthan - in which no 3G spectrum is available. As and when it is available, we will conduct the auction.We are still not clear about the availability of slots beyond five, as we have to take defence on board and there could be a requirement later also. There is a question of regional imbalance where one state is left out in the 3G service progress,” the Telecom Secretary said.
According to official sources, DoT has left this matter to Finance Ministry for reference.