EGoM on 2G spectrum deferred

June 21st, 2012 - 9:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) A crucial meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, which was to take place Thursday to decide on key issues involving the 2G spectrum auction was postponed indefinitely.

“The EGoM meeting has been deferred. No new date has been fixed yet,” a senior department of telecom (DoT) official told IANS.

No reason had been given for the postponement.

The meeting was scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. It was then deferred to 8:30 p.m. and later indefinitely.

The EGoM was to decide on key but controversial issues like the reserve price, mortgaging of spectrum and deferred payment. It was also supposed to be the last EGoM headed by the finance minister who is all set to file nomination for the presidential election.

The delay in decision-making would create further uncertainties for the sector, said analysts. Questions are already being asked whether the government would be able to meet the Supreme Court’s deadline of Aug 31 to complete the auction.

A previous meeting of the EGoM June 5 could not decide on spectrum pricing as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) failed to submit its full report on the price recommendation and its impact on customers and the industry.

Last month, the Telecom Commission (TC) had asked the new TRAI chairman, Rahul Khullar, to study and analyse the reserve prices proposed earlier and their impact.

TRAI had recommended a reserve price of Rs.3,622 crore for 1 Mhz pan-India spectrum, which is around 10 times higher than the price at which 2G licences were allocated in 2008 under then Telecom Minister A. Raja.

Besides, it recommended to substitute the airwaves in the 900 MHz band with those in the 1,800 MHz.

The EGoM had, however, concluded that a minimum of 10 MHz spectrum would be auctioned.

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