More delay in 3G auction likely

January 2nd, 2009 - 9:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) The auction of third generation (3G) mobile services, which are slated to take place according to the revised time schedule, may be further delayed as the industry still is not ready. “The government is ready for the auctions but it is the industry players who demand more time from us,” a Department of Telecom (DoT) official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He also said the issue of doubling the reserve price was a “mere suggestion from the finance ministry”, and added: “The final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs next week.”

The official said the ministries of commerce, finance and company affairs gave suggestions from time to time, which had to be appraised.

Another DoT official confirmed that the cabinet would take up the case in its next meeting scheduled some time next week.

When asked why there was talk of the reserve price being doubled as it could goad telecom players to withdraw from the auction process, he said the suggestion “is a result of the poor response received in the pre-bid conference”.

“So far, not many foreign players have shown interest in participating in the 3G auctions,” the official said, and added that the government also does not want to lose out on revenue due to market conditions and a depreciating rupee.

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