Revenues to get preference over timing for 3G auction: Cabinet secy

Revenues to get preference over timing for 3G auction: Cabinet secy

New Delhi: The Government said on 16 February it would prefer to auction the spectrum for third generation mobile phone services, or 3G, at a time when it can earn maximum revenue.

“I don’t think it really particularly matters if it happens this year or next year.. They (DoT and Finance Ministry) will take the decision based on how the revenue can be maximised," cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, who was heading the high-level committee to monitor vacation of spectrum by the defence forces, said without giving any definite timing for the auction.

The empowered GoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had made a provision for garnering up to Rs35,000 crore from the sale of airwaves in the current fiscal.

It hopes to use the proceeds to partly cut down the fiscal deficit, estimated to touch 6.8% of the gross domestic product in 2009-10.

He said issues involved with 3G has been resolved and the auction date will be set based on how to maximise revenue from the auction.

However, it did not specify the issues which have been resolved. The 3G spectrum auction has been halted due to lack of consensus between the Finance and Telecom Ministries over the number players to be allowed to offer 3G services, unwillingness of the defence ministry to release more spectrum and over the timing of the auction apart from the nitty gritties of the bidders’ payment issues.