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India formally starts process to auction mobile bandwidth

05 мая 2012

India's Department of Telecommunications late Thursday invited bids from companies to conduct bandwidth auctions for basic mobile-phone services, initiating the spectrum sale process, even as it has sought clarity on the regulator's auction proposals.

India is racing against time to meet a directive from the country's top court to conduct bandwidth auctions by Aug. 31, much before the government's preferred timeline of March 2013.

The Supreme Court had ordered an auction of bandwidth, including of those to be surrendered by companies which were allotted licenses and spectrum in 2008. The apex court had ordered scrapping of the 122 licenses given in 2008, saying the process was flawed. The affected companies can operate until Sept. 7.

In its February order, the court asked the telecom regulator to outline rules of the auction. The regulator recently sent its proposed rules to the government, which has since sought some clarifications on the rationale for the suggested base price, the auction of only one slot of bandwidth, and refarming of bandwidth, among others.

The government plans to decide on the final rules by end-May.

Late Thursday, the department invited bids from companies to auction on its behalf bandwidth in the 1800 Megahertz and 800 MHz band--the two frequencies used to provide mobile-phone services in the country--in all of the 22 telecom service areas India is divided into.

The bids can come in until June 11, and the department expects to finalize the auctioneers by June 20, a document on the department's website showed.

The document says that bids from the potential auctioneers will have to be valid for 150 days from the date of submission of bids, indicating there could be another round of bandwidth auctions within this fiscal year that began April 1--in line with recent proposals by the regulator to conduct least two auctions by March 31, 2013.

Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekar told Dow Jones Newswires Friday that the department is doing "everything possible" to speed up the process leading to the conduct of the auction by the Aug. 31 deadline.


Источник: Total Telecom

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