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DoT to conduct 800 MHz auction

February 27, 2013 10:40 IST

TelecomThe department of telecommunications on Tuesday said it would auction the 800 MHz telecom spectrum band (used by CDMA operators) on March 11, as no operator had submitted an application to bid in the auction of the 1,800 MHz band used by GSM operators.

In a statement on Tuesday, DoT said, “1,800 and 900 MHz bands were to be auctioned simultaneously, starting March 11, and the 800 MHz band auction was to commence two days after the conclusion of the auction of the 1,800 and 900 MHz spectrum.

"In the light of these developments, the auction of 800 MHz spectrum would commence on March 11.”

Earlier, DoT had planned to auction 1,800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz spectrum from March 11. It had fixed February 25 as the last date for the receipt of applications.

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“It is a pre-planned design of the industry to subvert the auctions," Telecom Watchdog Secretary Anil Kumar said.

The government on Tuesday said it has not received any application for 2G spectrum auction except that of Sistema Shyam Teleservices that will bid for CDMA spectrum.

Government's 2G spectrum auction next month looks set to flop with just one company making application for participation in sale of airwaves despite a cut in base prices following tepid response to November auction.

"The repeated auction failures seem to be a well thought out design," Kumar said.

“The next step, in terms of the 1,800 MHz and 900 MHz spectrum, would be decided after placing the developments and issues before the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on spectrum auction.

"A third auction (after November 1 auction and the second auction set to commence on March 11) was already announced by the DoT on February 20, consequent to the Supreme Court dated February 15,” DoT said in the statement.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the government to place on sale the entire spectrum freed by cancellation of 122 2G licences.

On Tuesday’s statement said DoT would review the need to include Delhi and Mumbai circles in the next round of auction of the 1,800 MHz band, as well as the need for a re-auction of the 900 MHz band in the three metro circles.

“The quantum of spectrum, the reserve price and the timelines for this auction will be decided after necessary directions in this regard are obtained from the EGoM and when required, the Cabinet,” DoT said.

Meanwhile, DoT would also file an affidavit of compliance in the Supreme Court regarding the implementation of its order dated February 15.

“Any further direction issued by the SC in the matter will be incorporated into the plan of action for the next round of auction to be held as soon as possible after the March 11 auction is completed,” the statement said.

As directed by the Delhi High Court, DoT would also have to dispose of the applications for extending licences due to expire in November 2014.

“This action will be completed before the timeline fixed by the Delhi High Court — March 7,” the statement said.

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