Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja on Monday said major foreign players were showing keen interest in the forthcoming auction of 3G spectrum, which might get delayed by a few days. The 3G spectrum auction, which is scheduled for December this year, will be definitely completed well before the end of the current fiscal, he told journalists at the International Telecommunication Union conference here. ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues, and the global focal point for governments and the private sector in developing networks and services.

“The 3G auction process is going as per the schedule, but I think it might get delayed till January as December is festive season across the globe, mainly in the West. Some 3G players have requested the government to delay it by a few days or week in view of the Christmas vacations. But I can definitely say that the process will be completed well before the end of the current fiscal,” he added.

Mr. Raja, who is attending the ITU conference, is busy meeting top officials of not only major 3G players globally, but also a few of his counterparts discussing ways of cementing ties between them in the field of telecom and IT.

“There has been interest from various foreign companies in the planned 3G auction. The telecom sector has largely remained unaffected due to global financial meltdown, therefore the 3G auction will attract good response from companies across the world,” Mr. Raja said, and added that the 3G and Wi-Max spectrum auctions would help the government generate at least Rs. 25,000 crore. Referring to the vacation of spectrum by the Defence Ministry, Mr. Raja said whatever the Group of Ministers (GoM) formed to resolve the issue decides, the Defence Ministry would have to respect that. “I do not think any major delay in the release of spectrum by the Defence Ministry,” the Minister added.

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