New Delhi: India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT) aims to start the auction and the sale of licenses for second generation (2G) mobile telephony spectrum by mid-June, Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.
The auction process will start after the government finalizes its views on the recommendations of sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and gets them approved by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EgoM), led by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Chandrasekhar said.
The EGoM will meet Tuesday to decide on issues relating to the terms of 2G auction, including allocation and spectrum pricing.
"Once we firm up our view and get the TRAI's final recommendations, we will take this to the EGoM. We have a meeting with the Telecom Commission on April 30. After that, we will go back to TRAI with our initial views. Once we get their final view, we will analyze it and place it before the EGoM," he said.
According to him, it will take around one-and-a-half months for getting an approval from the EGoM. The government has also begun the process of selecting the auctioneer.
"Once these preliminary decisions for the conduct of the auction are taken and the auctioneer is in place, then the two will be put together and the auction process will begin near the middle of June," Chandrasekhar said.
TRAI in its recommendations released on April 23 suggested that the DoT appoints an auctioneer for three years.
The regulator recently proposed near 10-fold increase in the reserve price for the auction as compared to that at which radio spectrum and licenses were sold in 2008. TRAI suggested auction of 5 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band at a total Rs 36.22 billion per unit.
The Supreme Court of India last week extended the timeline for conducting auction, and issuance of fresh licenses for second generation (2G) mobile telephony spectrum to August 31 from June 2, providing relief to companies whose licenses face cancellation after the apex court's ruling in February.
Earlier February, the Supreme Court had ordered cancellation of all 122 telecommunication licenses awarded to eight operators in a scandal-tainted spectrum sale in 2008, and had asked the government to redistribute the spectrum through an auction.