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DoT Set to Begin 2G Auction by Mid-June

Monday, 30 April 2012, 00:11 Hrs
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New Delhi: The department of telecommunications (DoT) is planning for a mid-June kick-off of auction of second generation (2G) telecom licences and the spectrum.

R Chandrasekhar, secretary of DoT, said the government has already begun to move in this direction and will meet the Telecom Commission, the decision-making authority, on Monday to discuss the way forward.

He said the auction process will begin after the government firms up its view on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (Trai) recommendations and gets them vetted by the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee).

The EGoM has been notified for taking a call 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 analyse it and place it before the EGoM," said Chandrasekhar.

He said the process of getting an approval from the EGoM would take around one-and-a-half months. Simultaneously, the government has initiated 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," said Chandrasekhar.

The government is looking to repeat the success of third generation (3G) auction held in 2010 and has reportedly roped in the man who was at the helm of it " former joint secretary of the DoT J S Deepak. The DoT had beaten its target of raising `35,000 crore from the 3G auction when it actually realised `106,219 crore through the bidding process.

In its recommendations brought out on April 23, Trai has advised the DoT to engage an auctioneer for three years. Many international auctioneers and merchant bankers are already keenly watching developments in the space to be a part of it.

The Supreme Court (SC) last week had directed the DoT to carry out auction of the spectrum and licences by August 31. The government had filed an interlocutory application with the apex court, expressing its inability to conduct the auction of cancelled licences by June 2 and had asked for 400 days to complete the process.

On February 2, the SC ordered cancellation of 122 licences granted through faulty procedure of first-come-first-served basis during the former telecommunications minister Andimuthu Raja's regime and directed the telecom watchdog Trai to come out with recommendations for a fresh auction
Source: PTI
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