3G auction to be over in couple of days: Raja
New Delhi: The auction of radio frequency spectrum for third generation (3G) telecom services in the country is being conducted in a totally transparent manner and would be over in a couple of days, parliament was assured Thursday. "I's clear the procedure is transparent. It is open to all to question this but there is no question of lack of transparency," Communications Minister A. Raja said during the question hour in the Rajya Sabha. "The auction will be over in a couple of days." Raja's remarks came a day after opposition parties demanded his ouster following a media report based on alleged wiretap on conversations between him and a high-profile lobbyist on the allocation of 2G Spectrum. The commnunications minister once again maintained that even the last round of spectrum auction for second generation telephony was done as per the procedures followed by his predecessors and recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). For the last auction, for third generation telephony, the government had concluded 94 rounds as on Wednesday with the provisional winning price for a nationwide licence nearing the 9,000 crore ($2 billion) level. Along with the fee that will be eventually paid by the two state-run enterprises for the licences, the government is assured at least 36,024.61 crore from the auction, on the presumption that every available slot gets filled at the provisionally approved price. Raja also informed the upper house that the government had no plans yet to auction spectrum for fourth generation (4G0 telephony. "The auction of 3G spectrum is going on successfully. The question of the need of 700 MHz (4G) spectrum (for the public) is being studied. It is not necessary as of now," the minister said. "If in the course of time, the need arises, we will decide how much of this should be released for the public." Noting that spectrum was in various categories, ranging from 1G to 5G, Raja pointed out that the 4G spectrum was currently controlled by the information and broadcasting ministry and was being used by state broadcaster Doordarshan. In a written statement, he said the telecom regulator has issued a pre-consultation paper to identify the issues involved in the introduction of 4G services such as allocation and pricing of spectrum for such services and issues related to licensing. "Various stakeholders have given their views/comments at the pre-consultation stage which are being analysed by TRAI for preparation of a consultation paper."