3G spectrum will be distributed to all successful bidders on September 1
Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja on Monday dismissed allegations of corruption in the allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008, saying the government followed the policies of the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime and the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
“After 1999, 2G spectrum was not auctioned. Even in its latest report, the TRAI it did not recommend auction route to maintain a level playing field between two sets of operators,'' Mr. Raja told the Lok Sabha during question hour.
However, M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) alleged that the exchequer lost Rs 1 lakh crore as 2G spectrum was given away at throwaway prices and Rs 70,000 crore in 3G auction.
“Allegations and counter allegations are common in public life,'' Mr. Raja said. Spectrum was allocated as per the rules. The process of 3G spectrum auction was completed on May 19, 2010. It would be distributed to all successful bidders on September 1 for launching the service on a commercial basis.
Telecom Public Sector Undertakings — BSNL and MTNL — were allotted 3G spectrum in advance on the condition that they would pay whatever was the highest bid amount. MTNL had launched the service in Delhi and Mumbai and BSNL was operational in 463 cities.
The Minister said tariffs were being fixed by the operators and, as in the case of 2G service, tariffs for 3G would also come down when operators started their operations.
On the difference between 2G and 3G, he said 2G was primarily for voice services while 3G could be used for video and data transfer services too.