There were questions being raised on whether Government put only a section of 2G spectrum or the whole spectrum itself for auction last month. Government today clarified in the Loksabha that the whole spectrum was put to auction in all prescribed telecom services areas and they have followed the directions of the Supreme Court in the spectrum auctioning. It may be recalled that the Government had conducted a fresh auction of 1800 MHz band for GSM services recently.
There were heated remarks being exchanged between the Government and CAG regarding the auction norms which saw fewer bidders participating in the auction. The auction of 800 MHz for CDMA services was cancelled due to the absence of any bidders.
Fresh auction was required as Supreme Court had cancelled around 122 licenses which were issued during the tenure of former Telecommunication Minister A.Raja. Supreme Court questioned the lowly response of bidders to the auction of GSM and CDMA spectrum even raising doubt over Government withholding some part of the whole spectrum which was available for auction following the cancelation of 122 licenses.
This is the context where Government was forced to file an affidavit explaining why the whole spectrum was not put for auction. Mr. Milind Deora, MoS for Communications and IT in a written reply to Loksabha stated "Spectrum in the 2G bands of 800 Mhz and 1800 Mhz were put to auction on all 22 service area, as directed by Hon'ble Supreme Court.
"He also added "A total quantum of 95 MHz of spectrum (CDMA) was put to auction in the 800 MHz band and a total quantum of 295 MHz (GSM) was put to auction in the 1800 MHz band."
Government and DoT is under fire as the spectrum auction fetched total revenue much less than the expected Rs 40,000 crore. Government has been trying to pass on the blame to CAG and the norms which were put on table for auction. It is a sad state of affairs as there were no bidders for many of the prominent circles like Delhi, Karnataka, Mumbai and Rajasthan. The Minister confirmed this and said that they received bids only for 102 blocks of 1.25 MHz (total of 127.7 MHz of spectrum) as against a total spectrum of 295 MHz which was for taking.