New Delhi: The government today said the telecom operators, who had bagged third generation (3G) spectrum in the auction held recently, would be allocated airwaves from 1st September, paving way for launch of high-speed mobile broadband services.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) had set 1st September as the deadline for allocating spectrum, as per the schedule of auction, which fetched the government over Rs67,000 crore for selling 3G frequency.
There are, however, apprehensions in the industry as the defence forces are yet to vacate spectrum in several areas, as the alternate network for them is still not ready.
Asked whether government will be able to give spectrum on time, minister of state for telecom and IT Sachin Pilot said on the sidelines of an Assocham event, "After 1 September, 2010, allocation will take place and services will be rolled out."
The government had raised over Rs1.06 lakh crore from sale of spectrum for both 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) services.
As many as seven operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and others had bagged 3G spectrum in select circles.
Operators are confident if the spectrum is handed over to them by September, they can roll out services by the end of this year or early next year.
Two leading operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications had recently announced that they are ready with their 3G infrastructure and are waiting for the government to release spectrum.
"Our network is already ready for providing 3G services.
Our content and application are also getting ready for the same and the IT too has geared up. The only thing that needs to be added is the radio network,"
"I am hopeful that before the end of this calendar year, we should see some light on 3G and real user experience happening," Bharti Airtel chief executive for India and South Asia Sanjay Kapoor had said.
Expressing similar views on 3G infrastructure set-up, Reliance Communications president Mahesh Prasad had also said, "If the spectrum is allocated by September. We will roll out our services by the end of the year or by early next year.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has taken up with the Press Council of India its concerns on media groups entering into agreements, such as 'Private Treaties', with companies, saying that such agreements may give rise to conflict of interest and may, therefore, result in dilution of the independence of the press. For more, (see: http://www.sebi.gov.in/Index.jsp?contentDisp=Department&dep_id=4).
New Delhi: Tata Steel's European arm Corus today entered into a pact with Thailand-based Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) to sell its Teesside Cast Products (TCP) plant in the UK for about $500 million.
"Corus UK Ltd and Sahaviriya Steel Industries Public Company Ltd today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which sets out the scope of a potential transaction whereby SSI would acquire from Corus the Teesside Cast Products (TCP) business in a transaction valued at approximately $500 million," Tata Steel said in a statement here.
Tata Steel said that the deal, if successfully concluded, is expected to create a significant number of new jobs at the plant in addition to TCP's existing workforce of over 700 and will provide a considerable boost to the local economy.
"The assets covered by the MoU include the Redcar and South Bank coke ovens, TCP's power generation facilities and sinter plant, the Redcar Blast Furnace and the Lackenby Steelmaking facilities," it added.
Corus MD and CEO Kirby Adams said, "We are very pleased to announce this significant progress in our long-held objective to sell the TCP assets to a strategic industry investor.
"This is the first of several steps required to reach a definitive sale agreement in the coming months which, with the anticipated co-operation of government, employee representatives and the North East community, should result in the restart of steelmaking on Teesside in the first half of 2011."
A sale agreement would also result in Corus and SSI operating Redcar Wharf (TCP's bulk terminal) as a joint venture, giving Corus the flexibility to use Teesside to serve its other steelmaking operations, while also meeting SSI's requirements on Teesside, it added.
SSI president Viriyaprapaikit said, "For the past year we have held very constructive negotiations with Kirby Adams and the Tata Corus team and we look forward to engaging with all stakeholders in the same spirit of co-operation to secure a final agreement."
Tata Steel added that Corus and SSI will continue their negotiations, as well as holding talks with trade unions and the government in coming weeks and months with the aim of finalising the terms of a sale agreement as soon as possible.
TCP was partially mothballed last year after a consortium of buyers broke an offtake contract with the plant last year.