New Delhi, April 29: The department of telecom (DoT) will meet this week to finalise the guidelines for the first phase of 2G spectrum auction.
The government is under pressure to finalise the norms and schedule for the auction to meet the new Supreme Court deadline of selling spectrum and licences by August.
Officials said in the first round, a limited sale of 110 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band is likely to be held, with 5Mhz being made available in each of the 22 circles. "This is based on Trai's recommendations," the officials said.
Earlier this week, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) proposed that 5 MHz in each of the 22 circles should be auctioned immediately at a base price of Rs 3,622.18 crore per MHz in the 1,800 MHz band. This translates into Rs 18,110.9 crore for 5 MHz.
In 2008, mobile firms paid Rs 1,650 crore to get 4.4 MHz of spectrum per circle on a pan-India basis.
In the 2010 auction of 3G spectrum, an operator would have paid Rs 16,750.6 crore for 5 MHz radio waves per circle. No firm got a pan-India slot in that auction.
According to Trai's proposals, the auction of 5 MHz this year will help to arrive at a value of spectrum, and the final price in the bidding will be the reserve price for the second round of auctions to be held next year.
"The decision of the DoT on auction pricing and the quantity of spectrum will be sent to the empowered group of ministers for a final call," said officials.
A nine-member empowered group of ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has been set up to take a final decision.
"In order to conduct auctions in the next four months (August 31), the department of telecom should ideally finalise the document inviting tenders from bidders by the middle of May," said an executive of a top operator.
A tender, or a bid document, contains auction guidelines, timeline and spectrum policy details based on which potential bidders chalk out their action plan.
Usually, the bidders are provided the tender document with a copy of the licence policy and detailed guidelines at least 3-4 months ahead of the auction.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the government's plea that it would need around 400 days to issue new licences and spectrum through auctions, even as it allowed the nine mobile companies whose permits were cancelled to continue operations till September 7 against the earlier deadline of June 2.
The apex court also directed the government to conduct auctions by August.
Cash-strapped BSNL has requested a refund of Rs 8,313.9 crore for surrendering its broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in 20 circles, minister of state for communications and IT Milind Deora has said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, reports PTI.