Economy Jan 1, 2013
New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers on spectrum, headed by Finance P Chidambaram, is scheduled to meet on January 3 to discuss details of the spectrum auction due this fiscal.
"EGoM is meeting this Thursday," official sources said. The EGoM, they said, will discuss the auction plan prepared by the Department of Telecom (DoT) after the Cabinet approved the sale of unsold GSM spectrum in 1800 Mhz band and in the premium 900 Mhz spectrum band.
The government is learnt to be preparing fresh plans to auction the radiowaves that can fetch around Rs 39,895 crore. As per the proposal, the government may get around Rs 25,316 crore from the auction in the premium 900 Mhz band, and Rs 14,579 crore from auction of unsold spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band.
For the CDMA (800 Mhz) band, DoT may propose either to recommend the matter to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or auction the radiowaves in succession to GSM spectrum. DoT may sell more spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan in the 1800 Mhz band, compared to the quantum it had earlier put up for auction that ended on November 14.
"Spectrum held by existing operators, whose licences are coming up for renewal, is also being put for auction," said an official source. DoT may put 15 Mhz of spectrum in 1800 Mhz band (used for 2G GSM services) amounting to 12 blocks in Delhi and Mumbai for auction at reserve price of Rs 485.15 crore and Rs 474.92 crore per block, respectively, they said.
The government in the previous auction had put up only 10 Mhz for auction, divided in 8 blocks of 1.25 Mhz each, for Rs 693.06 crore in Delhi and Rs 678.45 crore in Mumbai which attracted no bidders. In Rajasthan and Karnataka, it will auction same quantity of 11 blocks spectrum at reserve price of Rs 46.96 crore and Rs 231.08 crore, respectively.
For the premium 900 Mhz band, which provides double coverage of the signals compared to signals in 1800 Mhz band, the government is learnt to have fixed minimum price of Rs 970.30 crore per block for Delhi, Rs 949.84 crore per block for Mumbai and Rs 227.44 crore per block for Kolkata circle.
The government may auction 15 Mhz of spectrum in 900 Mhz band in Delhi and Mumbai circle and 12.5 Mhz airwaves in Kolkata. As per the draft proposal, new players may be required to bid for minimum of 4 blocks in both 1800 Mhz and 900 Mhz band in Delhi and Mumbai, sources said. New entrants may have to bid for 4 blocks in Rajasthan and Karnataka where 1800 Mhz band will be put up for auction, the sources said.
However, for auction of 900 Mhz in Kolkata, new players may be required to bid for minimum of one block only. Existing players will be allowed to bid for radiowaves but it will be subject to new rule of spectrum capping.
DoT may also cap the amount of spectrum that companies can hold in a telecom service area which will impact number of blocks for which each player, specially existing operators, can bid. "The existing operator can bid for a maximum of the full blocks available minus current holding, subject to the capping rule," a source said.
DoT may propose overall spectrum cap for each operator in Delhi at 36.99 Mhz, Mumbai 39.18 Mhz, Kolkata 33.5 Mhz, Karnataka 38.1 Mhz and Rajasthan at 34.7 Mhz. For 900 Mhz band, cap may be 10.6 Mhz each in Delhi and Mumbai and 9.5 Mhz in Kolkata.
In the 1800 Mhz band, cap for each operator in Delhi may be fixed at 16.5 Mhz, Mumbai at 21.5 Mhz, Karnataka 20.5 Mhz and Rajasthan at 20.7 Mhz.
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