The much-awaited auction of spectrum for 3G mobile services will miss its January 14 deadline, leading to further delay in the complete rollout of the advanced mobile services.

“With reference to the Revised Information Memorandum issued on October 23, 2009, the government is in the process of finalising the details to be included in the Notice Inviting Applications [NIA] which are being fine-tuned. The NIA will therefore be issued shortly,” Department of Telecommunications said on its website.

The DoT had fixed December 8 for inviting bids from operators to participate in the auction, but this process has now been delayed, while January 14 was fixed as the date for starting the 3G auction. The entire uncertainty is over the availability of spectrum and the number of slots to be put up for bidding in each circle.

In its note, DoT’s Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing had said that as per the MoU with the Defence Ministry, 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum would become available only after three years on completion of the alternative defence network and therefore it should not be auctioned now. Market conditions might be very different three years later, it added.

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