The much-awaited 3G spectrum auction will be delayed beyond the scheduled date of January 14 due to uncertainty over the available spectrum and the number of slots to be put up for bidding.
The government was to invite bids today from operators to participate in the auction. But the DoT said the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) are being fine tuned and will be issued shortly.
"With reference to the Revised Information Memorandum issued on 23 October 2009, Government is in the process of finalising the details to be included in the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) which are being fine tuned. The NIA will therefore be issued shortly," according to the DoT website.
An internal note of Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing, responsible for spectrum management, said as per the MoU with defence, 5 MHz of 3G spectrum will become available only after three years on completion of the alternate defence network and therefore it should not be auctioned now. Market conditions may be very different three years later, it added.
"Good auction practice require that only spectrum that is available should be auctioned. As there would be a maximum 20 Mhz available from Defence by September 2010, 5 MHz of this should be retained for BSNL/MTNL and 15 MHz (3 blocks of 5 MHz each) could be auctioned in this fiscal year with proviso that the bidding would be for three blocks of spectrum pan-India," said the note.