Telecom operators, whose licences are expiring during 2015 and 2016, have requested the government to allow them to continue with their existing in-use spectrum till the time adequate radiowaves are made available for auction.
In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said auction of spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 Mhz bands is planned during the current financial year.
"Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications whose licenses are expiring during 2015 and 2016 have jointly requested government for allowing them to continue with their existing in-use spectrum, till adequate additional spectrum, as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is made available for the conduct of auction," Prasad said.
In a separate reply, Prasad said the operators have proposed the auction to be conducted when there is adequate spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and 2100 Mhz bands, which should be auctioned simultaneously.
"For the intervening period, licensees pay the price discovered in February 2014 for 1800 Mhz with 900 Mhz multiplier as recently recommended by TRAI. This may be adjusted subsequently, if required, for the price discovered in the next round of auctions," Prasad said.
The Minister added the operators have also proposed that if it takes too long to resolve supply constraints, government can work towards a plan to auction all 900 Mhz spectrum allocated to the 1996-2000 licenses together, when BSNL/MTNL licenses come for extension.
"As per result framework document (RFD) of the Department, the spectrum auction is to be completed by March 2015," the Minister added.