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India to complete 3G auction by end-2009

02 июня 2009

India's federal government will "definitely" complete the auction of third-generation, or 3G, radio bandwidth by the end of 2009, Telecommunications Minister A. Raja said Monday.


The government originally planned to auction radio bandwidth, or spectrum, for 20 of India's 22 telecom service areas last October. But the move has been deferred twice after the finance ministry suggested that the starting price of INR20.20 billion be doubled. A group of ministers is now examining the proposal.

The government is also keen to allow more telecom operators to provide second generation, or 2G, mobile services to increase competition in the sector, Raja said.

"With the advent of new service providers, tariffs will be come down," the minister said.

Cell phone tariffs in India are already among the lowest in the world - at about a cent a minute.

Raja also said the government will seek to build consensus among the employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. on an initial share sale in the state-owned telecom services provider before moving forward with the proposal.

Earlier in the day, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal told local television channel CNBC-TV18 that he expects the employee unions to resist any plans to list the company.

The Indian government had planned to sell 10% of Bharat Sanchar and list its shares last year. But it had to scrap the proposal after opposition from a major workers' union and the stock market crash.

Raja, also the information technology minister, said he will seek an extension of tax benefits for local outsourcing companies "for at least two years."

Software companies registered under the Software Technology Parks of India scheme don't have to pay tax on their profits from exports. The scheme is scheduled to expire in March 2010.

Raja also said the government is planning to promote the creation of computer hardware manufacturing hubs in some cities in a bid to develop the sector.

India is better known globally for its software services, but lags in the hardware manufacturing business.

The government is also looking to set up semiconductor manufacturing units in the country.

"The semiconductor policy is going to be implemented and we have received proposals worth INR1.570 trillion (for setting up the manufacturing units)," he said, adding that 12 such proposals have been given in-principle approvals.


Источник: Total Telecom

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