Foreign telecom companies today stayed away from a meeting to discuss the blueprint for 3G (third generation) mobile spectrum auction, while domestic players were riddled with doubts regarding regulation and availability of airwaves.

The Department of Telecom Member (Finance) Vijayalakshmi K Gupta said the department would, on December eight, issue the final blueprint of the auction with regard to number of 3G slots and as of now the information memorandum is the document for reference.

But the absence of foreign players at the pre-bid conference, which set in motion the auction process, was conspicuous.

An AT&T spokesperson from Hong Kong said: “We have no comment at this time,” while France Telecom and Cable and Wireless said they would not bid for 3G spectrum auction. UK’s BT had already stated that it was not interested in India’s 3G service, which would offer users high speed internet services.

All existing domestic players - Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and new licensees like Unitech Wireless, Shyam Sistema, STel, Etisalat DB were present at the conference today.

The players, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar in particular, sought clarity on policy matters, including about the impact of the pending TRAI recommendations on 3G spectrum auction and chances of increase in number of slots for auction in circles if defence ministry releases spectrum.

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