EGoM to decide on spectrum pricing Thursday

June 20th, 2012 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom will meet Thursday to fix the base price of the auction of 2G spectrum, a senior department of telecom (DoT) official said.

A previous meeting of the EGoM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, 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.

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

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.

Meanwhile, the GSM operators have said the EGoM should take into consideration all the information and views of different groups and analysts to arrive at a decision.

The operators have warned of a 100 percent hike in tariffs if the proposals are accepted.

According to consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), telecom tariffs are expected to rise by 90 paise a minute in metros and 20-34 paise on an average across the country if the sector regulator’s recommendations on spectrum pricing are accepted.

Thursday’s meeting is crucial for two major reasons. It will perhaps be the last meeting to be headed by Mukherjee, who is all set to resign to file nomination for the presidential election.

Second, the spectrum pricing has to be finalised this month so that the Supreme Court deadline of Aug 31 to complete the auction could be met.

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