India begins process to auction 3G airwaves Monday

September 7th, 2008 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Indian government is set to begin here Monday the process to e-auction radio frequencies for telecom operators to start third-generation (3G) mobile services across the country and fetch the exchequer over Rs.400 billion ($10 billion).The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold a pre-bid conference here with all the potential consultants - one of whom would oversee the process to e-auction spectrum for next generation mobile applications, officials said.

“The process for selecting the agency to manage the e-auction process will be taken up in the pre-bid conference,” a senior DoT official told IANS.

The 3G mobile services allow not only much faster communications but also a wide range of applications such as high-speed Internet access, video calls, fast music and video downloads, interactive gaming and global positioning over the Web.

As per schedule, potential service providers will have to submit their technical and financial bids by Sep 22. Those who qualify will need to make a presentation before the DoT Sep 24 - the date when the technical bids will also open, officials said.

The financial bids of qualified bidders will open Sep 26, and the government hopes to finalise the successful players by Sep 30, the officials added.

The state-run Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), which offers its services in Delhi and Mumbai, and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) that operates in the rest of the country, have already been allotted frequency spectrum for 3G telephony.

The two companies, however, will have to pay the government amounts equal to the highest qualified bidder among the private players.

In accordance with the recent decision, an auction will also be held for 3G mobile phone providers who use the CDMA technology platform. The earlier plan was to allocate the scarce frequency spectrum on the basis of higher subscriber base.

“The same auctioneer will oversee the e-auction of 3G spectrum for both the CDMA and GSM players,” the DoT official said.

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