Spectrum Uncertainty Likely to Derail 3G Auction

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 09, 2009

Continuing uncertainty over the available spectrum and the number of slots to be put up for bidding is likely to put off the eagerly-awaited 3G spectrum auction beyond the scheduled date of January 14. 

The Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) to invite bids from operators, which was to be released on Dec 8, are still being fine tuned and will be issued shortly, according to the Department of Telecom (DoT).

As per DoT s website, "With reference to the Revised Information Memorandum issued on 23 October, 2009, Government is in the process of finalising the details to be included in the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) which are being fine tuned. The NIA will therefore be issued shortly."

An internal note of Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing, responsible for spectrum management, stated that as per the MoU with Defence, 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum will become available only after three years on completion of the alternate Defence network and therefore it should not be auctioned now. Market conditions may be very different three years later.

"Good auction practice requires that only spectrum that is available should be auctioned. As there would be a maximum 20 Mhz available from Defence by September 2010, 5 Mhz of this should be retained for BSNL/MTNL and 15 Mhz (3 blocks of 5Mhz each) could be auctioned in this fiscal year with proviso that the bidding would be for three blocks of spectrum pan-India," said the note.