The government plans to put on auction the circles that went without bids in the just concluded sale of 2G mobile phone spectrum, by March 31, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said on Friday.

The “intent” is to have the auction of spectrum in four circles, including Delhi and Mumbai, before the end of the fiscal, Mr. Sibal told a news conference here.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government “was not celebrating” the flopping of the auction and will continue to move forward.

An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) “will be meeting soon” to decide on the next course of action, he said.

The auction, which lasted just two days, got total bids worth Rs 9,407.64 crore, just one-third of the minimum Rs 28,000 crore the government was expecting. The auction was a far cry from the 35—day bidding for the 3G spectrum in 2010 that got Rs 67,719 crore.

Mr. Sibal said besides Rs 9,407.64 crore from the auction, the government will also get Rs 7,936 crore by way of one—time fee to be levied on existing telecom operators holding spectrum more than a prescribed limit.

“There will be substantial net gain,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

More In: National | News