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India panel OKs bandwidth auction for more than eight slots
|07 июня 2012|
A panel of Indian ministers has approved auctioning more than eight slots of telecommunications bandwidth across India but hasn't made a final call on the starting price for the spectrum sale, a federal minister said Tuesday.The panel also decided to invite bidders for the proposed auction on Aug. 6, the minister, who is part of the ministerial panel and involved in the decision-making process, told reporters. He declined to be identified.
He also said that the panel agreed with the Indian telecom regulator's
recommendation of taking back 900 megahertz of spectrum from existing telecom
operators and assigning 1800-MHz spectrum via the auction process.
The ministers met earlier Tuesday to make the final call on the starting price and the number of slots to be sold, among other issues related to the bandwidth auction.
India's telecom department can move ahead with the auction only after a final decision by the ministers. The Indian government needs to complete the auction by Aug. 31, the deadline set by the Supreme Court after it ordered the cancellation of 122 telecom licenses, citing corruption in their 2008 allotment.
The auction is crucial for companies such as Telenor ASA and Sistema JSFC as the court has revoked all of their licenses. They have been allowed to carry on services until Sept. 7, but if they don't get bandwidth through the auction, they may have to shut shop in India.
Other affected companies include Idea Cellular Ltd., which has six of its licenses canceled.
Mobile telephone operators are opposing the proposals by the telecom regulator, which suggested a base auction price that is several times more than the price at which India allotted licenses and bandwidth in the past.
The decision on increasing the amount of spectrum to be auctioned to more than eight slots of 1.25 MHz in each of India's 22 service areas should ease concerns about the artificial scarcity that could have been created by pushing up the auction price.
Telenor risks suffering on its Indian operations the biggest foreign investment loss ever for a Norwegian company if it is unable to participate in the upcoming auction and get radio bandwidth reallocated to it, Trond Giske, Norway's minister of trade and industry, told Dow Jones Newswires in Oslo Tuesday.
Источник: Total Telecom