The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Wednesday released the initial norms for auction of 2G spectrum, but the crucial aspect of reserve price of spectrum is yet to be decided by an empowered group of ministers.
The government will auction eight blocks of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band, and each block will be of 1.25 MHz, and the validity of the spectrum auctioned will be for 20 years, DoT said in a notice on its website.
In addition, a provision will be made for spectrum up to three blocks each of 1.25MHz, wherever available, for topping up the eight blocks of spectrum put for auction, which means up to 11 blocks each of 1.25MHz will be there to meet the requirement of new entrants.
Existing operators will be allowed to take a maximum of two blocks of 1.25MHz each; new entrants will be required to bid for a minimum of four blocks each of 1.25MHz and additional one block of 1.25MHz. The department said the auction would be open to all, including companies affected by a Supreme Court cancellation of telecom licences.
Other details such as the reserve price for auction, terms of payment, annual spectrum usage charges as well as deadlines for rollout of services will be announced later.
The spectrum to be assigned will be liberalised, which means it can be used for providing any service. It also said service providers might be allowed to convert their existing 1800MHz spectrum to liberalised spectrum for a period of 20 years on payment of auction determined price.
A simultaneous multiple round ascending e-auction will be conducted, the details for which will be notified later, DoT said.
The government has to complete the auction process by August 31 this year, following Supreme Court’s order of cancellation of 122 licenses issued in January 2008, and allot vacated spectrum through an auction process.
In a related development, the government extended the deadline to July 20 for submitting bids by prospective agencies to conduct e-auction of spectrum from the earlier date of June 20.