3G spectrum quota for BSNL, MTNL

New Delhi, Apr 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2007, 06:04am hrs
State-owned telecom firms Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam will get 3G spectrum quota in step with the recommendations of an internal committee of the department of telecommunications (DoT).

The committee was formed by the DoT to study the 3G spectrum pricing and allocation recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). FE was the first to report last year that the DoT might give BSNL and MTNL special treatment while selling 3G spectrum.

According to the recommendations, four firms will be given 3G spectrum after the first round of bidding for the 2.1 Mhz frequency. Each operator will get 10Mhz opposed to 5Mhz each for five companies, suggested by Trai. If BSNL and MTNL does not figure among the top four in the auction, they will be given spectrum provided they match the price of the second highest bidder.

Officials justified this move favouring BSNL and MTNL stating that meeting the telecom targets set by the government largely depended on the two state-owned companies. If they missed out in the auction, the governments 3G roll-out target would depend entirely on private operators, they said.

Freezing Frequency

Four firms will be given 3G
spectrum after the first round of bidding for 2.1 Mhz
Each operator will get 10Mhz opposed to 5Mhz each for five companies
BSNL and MTNL will be allowed to match the price of the second highest bidder

Communications and IT minister Dayanidhi Maran recently told FE that the defence forces would give up 42.5 Mhz of spectrum in July and that this would be made available for 2G and 3G services. To promote competition, he had said, global players would be invited to bid for 3G services.