The government today said it had received interest from international companies for launching high-speed 3G telephony services, auction of spectrum or radio waves for which will be completed this financial year.
“There has been interest from various foreign companies in the planned 3G auction,” Telecom Minister A Raja told reporters here, exuding confidence that the auction of 3G and WiMax spectrum would generate at least Rs 25,000 crore of revenue for the government.
“The successful 3G bidder wil be issued Universal Service Licence (USL).... They will be eligible for 2G spectrum also, as and when it is available,” he said.
Raja further said he had had talks with telecom ministers and officials from many other countries and all of them were of the same opinion that the telecom sector was one of the least hit by the global financial meltdown.
“We are very confident that the government will raise at least Rs 25,000 crore from the auction,” Raja said.
Asked whether the 3G auction would meet the timeline, Raja said: “Yes. By and large, we are moving according to the timeline... It may get delayed by some time due to the Christmas vacation, but very positively it will be completed within this financial year (ending March 2010).”
Asked about the defence ministry’s reluctance to speedily vacate spectrum, used for its internal communication, Raja said: “The defence ministry has to respect the decision of the Group of Ministers (GoM).”
However, no major delays are expected on account of the defence ministry’s delay in releasing spectrum, as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has adequate spectrum to allocate at least the initial 5Mhz to three players in a circle.
“We have 3G spectrum available in varying amounts in various circles except Rajasthan, where there are no 3G radio waves. Therefore, spectrum availability cannot halt the auction process. Any release by Defence would be an additional gain and will help in giving it to more players,” a DoT official had said recently.