Spectrum eGoM likely to meet on Nov 29 to decide more 2G auction

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The empowered group of ministers on spectrum is likely to meet on November 29 to decide the future course of action in the aftermath of flopped 2G spectrum auction in middle of this month.

Telecom department officials confirmed the date but declined to give details of the agenda. Issues related to re-auctioning of unauctioned spectrum are expected to figure in the discussion.

Telecom minister, Kapil Sibal, saying that spectrum unsold in the auctions would be resold before the “end of this fiscal” seems increasingly unlikely, given that the government would have to restart the process, beginning with asking for Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendations followed by approval from the telecom department, eGoM and Union cabinet.

In 1800 mhz auctions, no spectrum was sold in valuable circles like Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Assuming that the reserve price in these circles was high to begin with, it is likely reserve price in these circles would be lowered.

The real problem is the reserve price for circles, where not all spectrum was sold. Reserve price for these circles cannot be brought down for ensuing position of having two reserve prices for same spectrum would be, “legally untenable” say industry officials.

The 2G spectrum auctions that began on November 12 lasted only a day, closing on November 14 on the back of lacklustre participation by GSM telecom operators. While 1800 mhz band saw some bidding activity, all parties interested in 800 mhz CDMA band auctions withdrew, causing those auctions to be cancelled.

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