3G Spectrum Price to be Placed Before Cabinet this week

By: Gizbot Bureau

Telecom Ministry will this week place before the Cabinet for approval the 3G spectrum base price for the auction planned in February.

"It (3G spectrum base price) is proposed to be placed before cabinet on Wednesday," an official source told PTI. The inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission today finalised its recommendation for per megahertz 3G spectrum price. Sources quoted two different prices - Rs 3,889 crore and Rs 3,705 crore, as per megahertz price recommended by the panel but the same could not be confirmed officially.

3G Spectrum Price to be Placed Before Cabinet this week

The Commission, headed by Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg, has recommended price for only 5 megahertz of 3G spectrum compared to total of 20 Mhz as recommended for auction by TRAI and demanded by industry.

All the 3G spectrum being put for auction and demand made by industry are to be freed by the Defence Ministry. The Ministry has agreed to free 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum as of now and 15 Mhz when the government will notify dedicated spectrum for defence forces as 'Defence Band and Defence Interest Zone'.

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Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad expects the dedicated spectrum band for the defence sector to be notified in February. TRAI has recommended auctioning all 20 Mhz and providing rest of 15 Mhz spectrum after it is freed by the defence sector.

However, the government as of now has decided to auction only 5 Mhz spectrum that has been cleared by the Defence. The Department of Telecom has announced dates for next round of spectrum auction for 800 Mhz (CDMA), 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands but is yet to share details of 3G spectrum. The government expects to raise at least Rs 64,840 crore from the auction, excluding 3G. The Commission did not discuss issues related to National Optical Fibre Network.

Source: PTI

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