Telecom companies urge DoT to postpone spectrum auction

Telecom companies in India have asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to postpone its mega spectrum auction. The telcos have stated that they need a bigger gap between the mock drill and the actual bidding. The request was made at a pre-bid meeting to clarify certain details pertaining to the auction.

The upcoming spectrum auction will be the biggest bidding for airwaves in the country till date. The government is putting mobile radio waves up for sale at a base price of Rs 5.63 lakh crore. Mobile frequencies amounting to 2.354.55MHz in all bands will be sold to telecom operators for 4G services.

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The timeline for the auction stated that mock bidding for the airwaves would take place on September 26 and 27. DoT allotted a day’s gap before the actual bidding session on September 29, a break telcos are requesting to be increased. The companies want a minimum period of three days before the auction begins.

Reliance, Bharti Airtel, Idea, Vodafone and Telenor are among the parties asking for a bigger delay. A representative of one of the operators noted that the auction date falls in the ‘Shradh’ period which is considered inauspicious (by Hindus) for starting new projects. DoT is taking these suggestions into consideration.

Also see: Cabinet allows liberalization of spectrum at TRAI rates

Radio waves in the frequencies of 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHZ, 2100MHz and 2300MHz will be sold to operators in the auction. These are important for setting up 4G services in the country. The government is aiming to make around Rs 6400 crore from the auction and an additional Rs 9800 crore through levies and services from the telecom sector.

Radio waves in the 700MHz band will be sold for the first time in this auction. This frequency is considered to be the prime importance as it operates at way less than the cost of 3G services in the 2100MHz band. So it is important to telcos for setting up a cost-effective 4G network.