3G auction won’t be delayed by global meltdown: minister (LEAD)

October 15th, 2008 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) Auction of third generation (3G) spectrum for telecom operators is on schedule and will not be delayed on account of a funds crunch following the global meltdown, Communication and IT Minister A. Raja said here Wednesday.“We are not delaying the 3G auction process as of now,” Raja told reporters on the sidelines of a conference. “We are looking at the liquidity crunch in the market, we will discuss the matter with the finance minister.”

Emphasising that “no changes have been planned”, Raja added: “The timeline remains the same”.

The 3G spectrum is scheduled to be auctioned by December-end.

Responding to reports that spectrum winners would be allowed to pay the bid price in installments, he said: “There has been no dilution of law, and I will speak to the prime minister about this.”

Media reports Wednesday suggested that the government was considering relaxing guidelines to allow winning bidders to pay in installments because of the global liquidity crunch.

Raja, however, said: “There was no such proposal. Right now… there is no move to delay nor to give the option of partial payments.”

He added that the government would discuss the financial crisis and any change in the mode of payment would have to be discussed with the prime minister and the finance minister.

India plans to hold a global auction of radio spectrum for the 3G and 4G wireless services simultaneously by December, from which it hopes to raise up to Rs.400 billion ($8.2 billion).

The government has appointed the US-based bank Rothschild to conduct the auction.

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