With the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) getting issues with the Union Finance and Law Ministries resolved, the auction of spectrum for advanced 3G mobile services is likely to begin this week.
However, the process is unlikely to be completed this fiscal due to prolonged delay.
“All pending issues [with Law and Finance Ministries] have been resolved. DoT will issue ‘notice inviting applications’ [NIA] by the end of this week inviting potential bidders to participate in the auction process,” Communications and IT Minister A. Raja told journalists here.
The auction would take 40-45 days from the date of issuing NIA, he said.
Number of slots
Though Mr. Raja did not comment on the number of slots to be auctioned, government sources said three slots were likely to be auctioned across the nation, barring some States where four private players may be allowed due to the availability of excess spectrum.
In his last budget speech, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed the hope that Rs. 35,000 crore could be garnered from the auction in the current fiscal, but the process got delayed following objections from his Ministry and the Law Ministry over the availability of spectrum, the number of slots to be auctioned and other legal issues.