EGoM on 3G spectrum fails to resolve major issues

EGoM on 3G spectrum fails to resolve major issues

New Delhi: Differences over number of private players to be allowed to offer 3G mobile services continue within the government as an Empowered Group of Ministers’ panel on Tuesday failed to reach at any consensus.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, met here to finalize the notice inviting applications (NIA) from the potential operators to participate in the forthcoming auctioning for 3G spectrum.

The EGoM had decided in its last meeting that four blocks of 3G spectrum would be auctioned whereas the draft NIA document projected only three blocks.

The Defence Ministry, according to sources, has already vacated 10 MHz of spectrum and five more MHz would be released by August this year, so this make airwaves sufficient only for three private operators besides BSNL/MTNL, which have already started services on commercial basis.

“Some of the issues were discussed at the EGoM. Still some of the issues between the Defence and DoT are yet to be resolved. The chairman (Mukherjee) took all the views. He will decide. If necessary another consultation will take place. Otherwise, he will decide," telecom minister A Raja told reporters after the meeting.

Asked whether the time line for auction of 3G spectrum would be pushed further, the minister said, “As of now it has not been pushed ... there are a number of areas of differences... it will be resolved."