3G auction possible before end of current fiscal: Raja

February 17th, 2009 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Communications Minister A. Raja Tuesday said the auction of spectrum for 3G services could be completed before March 31, even though issues regarding the licence fee and bandwidth are yet to be decided by a ministerial panel.

“There are still chances of completing the entire auction process before the end of this fiscal,” Raja told reporters here on the margins of an event to launch an e-governance project, hoping that the members of the Empowered Group of Ministers would be named soon.

Regarding the vacation of defence spectrum, Raja said: “We will sign the memorandum of understanding with the defence ministry. Defence will release 10 to 15 mega hertz of spectrum the day the agreement is signed.”

The minister was also asked as to why the interim budget has projected a lower receipt of Rs.20,000 crore from the auction of 3G spectrum as against the Rs.30,000-Rs.40,000 crore estimated by the communications ministry.

His reply: “There are many things which have led to a lower base price. How many slots will be given in the spectrum auction has still not been decided.

Raja also said the base price, which was earlier set by the Telecom Commission and later by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, still needed to be finalised. “Therefore, the quantum of revenue that spectrum auction will fetch cannot be estimated now.”

According to him, the state-run telephone operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will launch 3G mobile services in Tamil Nadu before the end of this month.

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