The government is all set to start the process of auctioning of spectrum for 3G mobile services as all issues with the Law and the Finance ministries have been resolved, Telecom Minister A Raja said on Monday.
“The Department of Telecom (DoT) will issue Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) from the potential bidders by the end of this week. All pending issues have been resolved,” Raja said.
Asked about the date for auction of spectrum, he said, “You can take 40-45 days from the date of issuing NIA.”
Going by this, the auction cannot be completed within the current financial year with only 36 days remaining.
The Law Ministry had earlier objected to a clause in the draft NIA that successful bidders may ask for compensation in case they were not allotted spectrum within stipulated time period.
On the issue of number of slots to be auctioned, sources said that three slots would be auctioned across the nation, but in some states the government may decide to allow four private players.
The government had earmarked Rs 35,000 crore proceeds from the sale of spectrum in the current financial year but due to uncertainty over the number of slots and compensation clause, which has been resolved now, the auction is likely to be delayed.
The DoT, according to sources, has already given the draft of revised NIA to the Law Ministry and once it comes back the bid document would be finalised by the end of this week.
Raja also said that the number of slots to be auctioned in each circle would as per decision of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM).
The 3G mobile service enables cellular subscribers to download contents at fast speed.
The government, last week, said that it would prefer to auction the spectrum for the third generation mobile phone services at a time when it can earn maximum revenue.
“I don’t think it really particularly matters if it happens this year or next year ... They (DoT and Finance Ministry) will take the decision based on how the revenue can be maximised,” Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, who was heading the high-level committee to monitor vacation of spectrum by the defence forces, had said earlier.