3G spectrum auction to begin from Sep 8

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New Delhi, Sep 7: The government is set to begin the process of e-auctioning radio frequencies for telecom operators on Monday, Sep 8 for rolling out 3G services across the country. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold a pre-bid conference here with all the potential consultants, one of whom would oversee the process to e-auction spectrum for the next generation mobile applications, officials said.

The finer details of exactly how the auction will be conducted are expected to be discussed at the conference. The DoT has already announced the guidelines related to specifying the reserve price, the eligibility criteria, revenue share and rollout obligations of successful bidders. The 3G mobile services allow a wide range of applications such as high-speed Internet access, video calls, fast music and video downloads, interactive gaming and global positioning over the Web.

As per schedule, potential service providers will have to submit their technical and financial bids by September 22.

Those who qualify will need to make a presentation before the DoT on September 24, the date when the technical bids will also open, the officials said.

The financial bids of qualified bidders will open on September 26, and the government hopes to finalise the successful players by September 30, the officials added.

State-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have already been allotted frequency spectrum for 3G telephony.

The two companies, however, will have to pay the government amounts equal to the highest qualified bidder among the private players.

In accordance with the recent decision, an auction will also be held for 3G mobile phone providers who use the CDMA technology platform. The earlier plan was to allocate the scarce frequency spectrum on the basis of higher subscriber base.

''The same auctioneer will oversee the e-auction of 3G spectrum for both the CDMA and GSM players,'' the DoT official said.

The e-auction will be conducted separately for each circle as the reserve price is different across circles and the availability of 3G spectrum is uneven across the country.

UNI

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