3G spectrum auction postponed again

Telecom firms will have to wait longer before they can roll out 3G services as the government has yet again postponed the spectrum auction

In a surprise move, the government has postponed to the next fiscal the auction of spectrum for 3G telephony which was expected to bring in Rs35,000 crore to the exchequer, reports PTI.

The government has been putting off the auction of 3G spectrum for some time now. The postponement of the auction again to 2010-11 is likely to have some adverse impact on the government's finances and the fiscal deficit which is pegged at 6.8% of GDP.

According to senior officials in the Department of Telecom, law minister Veerappa Moily, who is a member of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), has opined that the auction should he held when the spectrum is available.

Telecom minister A Raja could not be contacted immediately for his comments. Officials, however, said that the auction is expected to take place in August-September this year. It is pertinent to mention that the ministry of defence had agreed to vacate the spectrum only during the middle of this year.

The EGoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, had decided to allow four private telecom firms to bid for the next-generation mobile telephone services (3G) and had made a provision for garnering up to Rs35,000 crore from the sale of airwaves in the current fiscal.
 

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