Cabinet refers 3G issue to GoM

Cabinet refers 3G issue to GoM

New Delhi: The Cabinet has referred the auction of third-generation (3G) telecom spectrum to a Group of Ministers (GoM), following differences among ministries on pricing of radio frequency.

“The issue has been referred to the GoM. We are looking for an early decision from the Group of Ministers," minister of state for telecom and IT Jyotiraditya Scindia said.

The Cabinet on Wednesday met to take call on this and in view of differences over the base price for the auction and finalising the number of slots that firms can bid for in the 20 of India’s 22 service areas, the cabinet referred the issue to an inter-ministerial panel.

He said, there are three options on reserve price “we are going forward with -- DoT’s own pricing (of Rs2,020 crore for an all India 3G license), Ministry of Finance seeking doubling of DoT recommendations and there is a proposal to increase the reserve price in the metros".

Third-generation services, which refers to high-end mobile services such as high-speed internet and video conferencing, could be indefinitely delayed.

While executives with telcos feel that the auctions are unlikely to happen during the tenure of the current United Progressive Alliance government, Scindia hopes it would happen in the UPA regime.

Ministries are also divided on the number of players to be allowed to offer 3G services in an area. DoT has restricted the number of players up to five per circle, including state-run BSNL and MTNL.

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