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Updated: November 6, 2013 23:55 IST

Telecom Commission recommends higher base price for spectrum auction

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M. F. Farooqui. File photo.
The Hindu M. F. Farooqui. File photo.

Telecom Commission, the highest decision making body of DoT, on Wednesday recommended raising reserve price for auction of pan-India mobile phone spectrum by 15 per cent over the one suggested by TRAI, and 25 per cent higher in case of key circles like Delhi and Mumbai.

Sources said the inter-ministerial panel at its meeting here recommended to an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) that reserve price for pan-India 1800 MHz spectrum be fixed 15 per cent higher than the TRAI suggested rates.

The base price for 900 MHz be fixed 25 per cent higher than what the TRAI had recommended, TC has said.

The rates recommended by TC are still lower than the reserve prices fixed for previous auction.

“We have taken a decision on the spectrum pricing for 1800 MHz and 900 MHz and also for merger and acquisitions. So we will now take this forward. The spectrum pricing has to now go to EGoM,” Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui told reporters here.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is likely to conduct the third round of spectrum auction by January and expects to garner a minimum revenue of about Rs 11,000 crore this fiscal.

The Telecom Commission has also approved the M&A policy, allowing mergers with a combined market share of up to 50 per cent. This would replace the cap of 35 per cent market share of the combined entity currently in vogue.

The acquiring company has to pay a market price of spectrum if it has been administratively assigned to the acquired company.

“The acquirer has to pay for spectrum which has come embedded with the licence to the acquired company,” sources said.

The companies will also be allowed to retain two blocks of 3G spectrum in respective areas as a result of the merger.

The commission also decided to conduct the auction on 800 Mhz band.

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