India starts third generation mobile spectrum allocation process

September 8th, 2008 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) The Indian government Monday kick-started the process to e-auction radio frequencies to telecommunications operators who want to offer third-generation (3G) mobile services.The auction is expected to fetch the exchequer over Rs.400 billion ($10 billion).

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) organised Monday a pre-bid conference with prospective bidders for selecting an e-auction ‘manager’ who will oversee the bidding process.

“Both sides only sought clarifications which will be used to finalize the guidelines for the Request for Proposals (RFPs) which will be released Friday,” a DoT official told IANS.

The companies can continue to send in their queries and doubts to the ministry through e-mail for clarifications till the final recommendations are released, the DoT official added.

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 September 22.

Those who qualify will need to make a presentation before DoT Sep 24 - the date when the technical bids will be opened, officials said.

The financial bids of qualified bidders will be opened Sep 26, and the government hopes to finalise the successful players by September 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 a recent decision, an auction will also be held for 3G mobile phone providers who use the CDMA technology platform.

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access which is a widely used mobile phone technology.

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.

GSM stands for global system for mobile communications which is the most widely used mobile phone technology in the world.

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