The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on 3G are divided on the number of private players to be allowed as some members have demanded four players in each metro against the Telecom Department’s suggestion of three operators.
According to the minutes of the last meeting of the EGoM, few members felt that at least four blocks of 3G spectrum should be auctioned pan-Indian or at least at the very minimum in metros by moving two telecom PSUs — BSNL and MTNL — to some other frequency band to avoid an oligopolistic structure which would need the green signal of the Defence.
This was, however, opposed by representatives of the defence. It was suggested that the MoU between the defence and DoT should be re-looked at before the auction or taking any such decision.
The EGoM felt that of four blocks pan-Indian available for commercial use, one block would be retained for BSNL/MTNL and three blocks pan-Indian are available for auction.
With EGoM failing to reach a consensus on the 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, said one of the prospective bidders.