With empowered Group of Ministers (eGoM) on telecom on Tuesday failing to reach a consensus on number of players to be accommodated in each telecom circle for third generation (3G) mobile services, the much-awaited auction of spectrum could be further delayed.
Speaking to journalists after the eGoM meeting, Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja said the schedule for spectrum auction was yet to be finalised. “Some of the issues between the Defence Ministry and the Department of Telecommunications have not been resolved. Either the [eGoM] Chairman will decide or another round of consultations may be held,” Mr. Raja said. The eGoM is being headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The eGoM had met to finalise the notice inviting applications (NIA) from operators who wish to participate in the auction. The auction process has already been delayed three times, and as per revised schedule, it was to begin on January 14. In its last meeting, the eGoM had agreed to allow four blocks (four private players per circle) of 3G spectrum, but NIA draft document later reduced it to three. Finance Ministry is expecting Rs.35,000-crore from the 3G spectrum auction.