3G, Wi-Max guidelines to be issued before June: A Raja

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) Communications and Information Technology Minister A Raja today said the guidelines for 3G and Wi-Max services will be issued by June, while these services will be rolled out by the end of the year.

''Guidelines for operating 3G and Wi-Max services will be issued by June and services will rolled out by December this year or by January 2009,'' Mr Raja told reporters here.

But whether it is going to be auctioned between the existing operators in India or whether it would be open to global bidders is yet to be decided, he added.

The spectrum allocation and auction issues have been unresolved for more two years. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), had in 2006, recommended that 3G spectrum be auctioned, thereby ending speculation that it would be given away free to the existing operators.

While TRAI officials insisted that 3G spectrum auctions be limited to existing operators to avoid a bidding war with global carriers, the telecom agency argued that 3G auctions should be open to international bidders. The Finance Ministry backed this view as long as global operators met eligibility criteria and foreign direct investment guidelines.

New international bidders will have to form joint ventures with Indian partners to seek entry in the Indian telecom market.

Previous spectrum auctions in 1995 and 2001 were open to international bidders.

Mr Raja said details of the spectrum auction have been referred to the Prime Minister.

UNI PDT/SR AK ND1450

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