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2G auction made open for all

Last updated on: September 10, 2012 13:43 IST
Ahead of the coming auction of 2G telecom spectrum, the government has decided to allow all players to bid for all bands.

That, effectively, means a Bharti Airtel or a Vodafone, which have licences to operate GSM services, can bid for CDMA spectrum, if they wish to.

"All players, whether incumbent or new can bid for all bands of spectrum," Telecom Commission Chairman and Secretary Department of Telecom R Chandrashekhar said after the meeting on unified licence.

However, he clarified that existing telecom players bidding in bands where they don't hold spectrum will be treated as new entrants in the 2G auction.

"If an operator has spectrum in one band but wants to bid in another band where it doesn't have spectrum, it would be treated as a new entrant and has to bid for the minimum number of slots which a new entrant is required to bid," he added.

A new player has to bid for a minimum of four blocks of spectrum in 1,800 MHz band or two blocks in 800 MHz band in each service area.

Earlier, there was ambiguity regarding whether a player having GSM licence can bid for CDMA spectrum. GSM and CDMA are technologies, used by telecom service providers in India to offer mobile telephony services. While, GSM service providers use 1,800 MHz and 900 MHz band, CDMA players use 800 MHz.

Besides, the Telecom Commission, which met today also finalised the terms and conditions about entry fee, net worth and equity requirements, matters relating to performance bank guarantee and financial bank guarantee for the Unified Licence (UL) that are to be issued to players that win spectrum in the auction.

The complete guidelines for the UL will be completed within three months. "The full Unified Licence regime would take some time to be implemented. We are doing it in two stages. In the first stage, decision had been taken on service area level access licences," he added.

Issues related to migration of licences of existing players, refarming of spectrum and bringing telecom tower companies under the licencing regime will be decided later, in the second stage, he said.

As far as the eligibility criteria for the purpose of licence is concerned, the net worth requirement is Rs 2.5 crore per service area and entry fee is Rs 1 crore per service area for J&K and Rs 50 lakh for Northeast.

"The net worth required for the purpose of participation in the auction is Rs 100 crore per service area and Rs 50 crore for J-K and North East, this translates into a net worth requirement on a pan-India basis at Rs 2,100 crore for 22 service areas," Chandrashekhar said.

Based on these recommendations, the department of telecom would take a decision and then these would be suitably incorporated in the notice inviting application, which is going to be issued on September 28, the Secretary said.

BS Reporter in New Delhi
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