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2G auction will take 13 months: DoT to Prime Minister

February 20, 2012

In a presentation made to Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has informed that the government will not be able to complete 2G auctions within the four month deadline set by the Supreme Court (SC).

Recently, SC has directed the government to conduct an auction of the spectrum that has been released as a result of revoking 122 licences issued in 2008. The DoT has been given a four moth deadline to organize the same. Further, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has been asked to issue its recommendations on the 2G spectrum auctions within the next 60 days.

However, the department has stated that the process of completing the 2G auctions will take atleast 13 months (400 days). To organize the 2G auction, DoT would require 95 days for studying the TRAI’s proposals, fixing the reserve price for bandwidth sale in consultations with other ministries, and getting approvals from the empowered group of ministers looking into all spectrum-related issues. This would be followed by completing the auction process, which according to the department would require another 245 days. In support of its argument DoT has stated that the 3G auction process was completed in 688 days.

The department now plans to seek the SC’s approval for extending the deadline for finishing the auction process.

DoT in its presentation has also highlighted the need to decide on the quantum of spectrum to be sold, the number of blocks - whether it will be in sold on a per MHz basis, or in blocks of 1.8 MHz or 4.4 MHz.  Further a decision must also be taken regarding who all can participate in these auctions- whether incumbents and new players, which are not present in the country at all, can participate in the sale process.

Other issues that were brought to the government’s notice included- decision regarding the dual technology permits held by Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices Limited and 3G spectrum held by Idea Cellular and S Tel in regions where their 2G licences had been cancelled; what should be the fate of mobile permits issued between 2001 and 2007 and whether incumbents should be charged for spectrum already held by them.





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