Telecom spectrum auction kicks off today
The auction for the airwaves or frequencies freed from the cancellation of 122 telecom licenses, belonging to mainly eight companies, by the Supreme Court in February, will start early Monday.
“We have taken quick decisions, firm decisions in the telecom sector. The result of which is that we are in process of auction. 12th of November that auction will start,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said on Saturday.
The cancelled permits included Uninor's 22 licences, Loop Telecom (21), Sistema Shyam (21), Idea Cellular including Spice Communications (13), Videocon (21), Etisalat DB formerly Swan Telecom (15), S-Tel (6) and Tata Teleservices (3 CDMA licences).
Instead of auctioning entire spectrum freed from cancellation of licences, the government is auctioning a maximum of 11 blocks of airwaves frequencies in each circle, barring Delhi and Mumbai where there are only eight blocks, to attract high price for spectrum.
The apex court had allowed the companies, whose permits were cancelled, to get spectrum reallocated for continuing their business if they win rights for the airwaves frequencies in the auction.
The government has fixed starting price for spectrum in the auction at R14,000 crore for 5 Mhz of GSM spectrum on pan-India level which is around 7 times more than the price of R1,658 crore at which telecom firms were given pan-India permits between 2001 to 2008.
Comptroller and Auditor General has estimated that allotment of permits in 2008 at 2001
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