New Delhi: Even as the meeting of the empowered group of ministers (eGoM) looking into various aspects of the coming 2G auction was deferred by a day, the department of telecommunications (DoT) has selected Gurgaon-based Times Internet Ltd (TIL) as the auctioneer.

This was done after financial bids were opened on Monday morning, a senior DoT official said requesting anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

TIL was among three firms that applied for the job. The others were Bangalore-based Karnataka State Electronics Development Corp. and Mumbai-based NCDEX Spot Exchange Ltd.

However, only TIL qualified in the technical bidding. The other bidders will see their financial bids returned without being opened.

TIL could not be reached for comment.

The eGoM had been expected to meet late Monday evening to discuss a tentative schedule to present to the Supreme Court as part of the government’s application for another extension in the deadline to conclude the auction. The final schedule will only be approved once the auctioneer’s opinion is taken into consideration.

As part of the schedule, DoT has to next release the information memorandum that will contain the rules and regulations for the auction. After this comes the pre-bid conference, hosted by DoT, for the benefit of providing clarifications to potential bidders. Under the current tentative schedule, DoT had planned to issue the information memorandum on 27 August, just four days before the 31 August deadline set by the Supreme Court for the completion of the auction process.

Other steps include responding to queries of potential bidders (from the pre-bid conference), inviting applications and giving time to companies for submissions, finalizing eligible bidders, public information sessions and mock auctions.

As per the 2 February Supreme Court verdict that cancelled 122 telecom licences and spectrum awarded to nine companies, the government was given till 2 June to conclude the auction. This was extended to 31 August with the cancellation of the licences taking effect on 7 September.

On Friday, the cabinet took the crucial decision of setting the reserve price at 14,000 crore for 5 megahertz (MHz) spectrum across the country in the 1800MHz band and 1.3 times this for spectrum in the 800MHz band.

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