Telecom operators could get spectrum within 90 days after payment following a government panel asking Department of Telecom to work out a mechanism for allocating the airwaves to successful bidders in a reasonable period.
According to sources, inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission at its meeting on October 15, discussed the issue of spectrum allocation to the successful bidders of February auction.
Telecom operators had paid for spectrum in the first week of March. However, though DoT has started allocating spectrum to companies this month, but is yet to completely assign all frequencies, especially in Delhi to mobile operators.
"After deliberations, the commission directed that a mechanism must be worked out by the DoT for allocation of spectrum to successful bidders within a reasonable period, preferably within 90 days, after receipt of payments from the bidders after conclusion of the auction," sources said.
Sectoral regulator TRAI has also written to DoT on October 17 regarding the delay in allocating spectrum to successful bidders of February auction.
"The Authority is unable to understand the reasons for this inordinate delay in the assignment of spectrum despite the clear provision in the NIA for the assignment of spectrum and after the payment has been made by the licencees," TRAI Chairman Rahul Khullar said in the letter.
He said telecom services in national capital may be disrupted partially from December due to delays by DoT in fresh spectrum allocation to leading operators Airtel and Vodafone.
These operators, which have about 20 million mobile subscribers on their network in Delhi or 45 per cent of the total subscriber base here, have bought spectrum as their current licences are expiring by November-end.
The two companies had 8 Mhz spectrum each in premium 900 Mhz band but Airtel could win back only 6 Mhz and Vodafone 5 Mhz of spectrum. The two companies bought some spectrum in 1800 Mhz band to make up for spectrum they lost in 900 Mhz band.
Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India and telecom operators individually also wrote to DoT for immediate assignment of spectrum.