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Only three 3G licences available in India

13 января 2010

The Indian government has revealed that its has just three slots of 3G spectrum available for auction next month, rather than the four slots it had planned to sell, meaning it is likely to make less money from the process than it had hoped.

In a draft notice inviting applications (NIA), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) announced that it will auction "up to three blocks of 2x5MHz of paired spectrum in the 2.1-GHz band in each of the 22 service areas", India's Business Standard reported on Tuesday.

That spectrum is in addition to the 3G spectrum already held by state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL; both launched 3G services last year.

The DoT has yet to announce when it will make the final NIA public, but it is likely to take a matter of days. Barring further timetable changes, interested parties will have until 25 January to submit their applications, pre-qualified bidders will be announced on 5 February with the auction due to start on 12 February.

The lack of available spectrum blocks stems from the fact that India's defence ministry has been unable to release enough spectrum to support more than three players.

The defence ministry is still in the process of vacating the three spectrum blocks that will be sold off, but the draft NIA states that successful bidders will be able to launch commercial 3G services from 1 September, the paper said.

Last year the finance ministry said it aimed to raise 350 billion rupees (US$7.5 billion) from the 3G auction.

However, that figure was based on four slots of spectrum being available for auction. With just three slots available, the government could well not reach this target.

The Business Standard pointed out that this could have a bearing on the government's budget deficit.

A fourth block of spectrum in the 2.1-GHz band is expected to be made available in January 2013, the paper reported.

Источник: Total Telecom

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