Decision on spectrum pricing in 3 weeks: Sibal

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SummaryTelecom minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said the Centre will finalise the pricing of spectrum in the 800 Mhz category in the next three weeks so that its auction may be completed before March-end.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said the Centre will finalise the pricing of spectrum in the 800 Mhz category in the next three weeks so that its auction may be completed before March-end.

Sibyl statement comes a day after the Supreme Court allowed mobile phone operators, whose permits were due to be revoked this week as per an earlier court order, to continue service until it hears the case next on February 4.

It also asked the government to explain the price these companies will have to pay for spectrum usage since cancellation of their licences in February last year.

The department of telecommunications had urged the court to allow companies to operate until the next airwaves are auctioned.

Sibal termed the apex court order as “positive” and said all the spectrum pricing issues will be decided before February 4, when the apex court will again hear the matter. “I think it's a positive sign and I am sure that just as the previous auction process was completed without any problem the new auctions will also be completed within the time-frame and before the end of March,” Sibal said at the release of Vodafone's sustainability report 2012.

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister P Chidambaram, had last week recommended reducing minimum price for sale of spectrum used by CDMA mobile operators and the unsold airwaves of first round by up to50%.

The government is likely to raise R45,000 crore from the second round of spectrum sale that is scheduled to start from March 11.

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