EGoM on 3G fails to resolve major issues
Moneylife Digital Team 12 January 2010

Differences over the number of private players who will be allowed to offer 3G mobile services continue within the government as an empowered ministers' panel failed to reach any consensus

Differences over the number of private players who will be allowed to offer 3G mobile services continue within the government as an empowered ministers' panel on Tuesday failed to reach any consensus, reports PTI.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, met in New Delhi to finalise the notice inviting applications (NIA) from potential operators to participate in the forthcoming auction for 3G spectrum.

The EGoM had decided in its last meeting that four blocks of 3G spectrum would be auctioned whereas the draft NIA document projected only three blocks.

The defence sector, according to sources, has already vacated 10 MHz of spectrum and five more MHz would be released by August this year, so this make airwaves sufficient only for three private operators besides State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), which have already started services on commercial basis.

"Some of the issues were discussed at the EGoM. Some of the issues between the defence (sector) and DoT are yet to be resolved. The chairman (Mukherjee) took all the views. He will decide. If necessary, another consultation will take place. Otherwise he will decide," telecom minister A Raja told reporters after the meeting.

Asked whether the timeline for auction of 3G spectrum would be pushed further, the minister said, "As of now, it has not been pushed. There are a number of areas of differences. It will be resolved."
 

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