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EGoM removes bidding cap for spectrum auction

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on telecom on Friday decided to remove the cap on maximum number of blocks for the operators in the upcoming auction. There is no cap other than policy restriction of 25 per cent and 50 per cent of the spectrum, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.

With this, existing GSM operators, which were allowed to bid for a maximum of four blocks of 1.25 MHz in each circle, will now be able to bid for as many blocks they want depending on availability. The existing CDMA operators, which were allowed to bid for just one slot, and new telecos, which were allowed to bid for only three slots, will now be able to bid for all available slots.

According to the notice inviting application (NIA) issued by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), a company cannot bid for more than 25 per cent of total spectrum on offer. The DoT was of the view that auction would witness aggressive bidding if restrictions on the number slot is removed.

"The whole agenda (of NIA) has been approved and we are now going ahead with the auction as proposed," Sibal said. The government will put on auction unsold spectrum in 900 MHz band, 1,800 MHz band, which are currently being used in GSM band and 800 MHz band.

Committee for national level unified licence
A committee, constituted to prepare the Unified Licence document, has recommended two licences — Unified License (National) and Unified Licence (Service Area) for telecom operators. The committee has taken the decision after examining the recommendations from DoT and Trai. It has also considered related objects of the National Telecom Policy on this.

The DoT has earlier proposed to split the unified licence (UL) for access service into two sub sets — UL (Network Services) and UL (Service Delivery) that could increase competition and lessen regulatory interference. The DoT had suggested this based on the recommendations made by Trai. Trai has recommended a national level or service-area level unified licence and a separate wireless operating licence for telecom operators, following the suggestions of the National Telecom Policy 2012, which had directed delinking of spectrum allocation from licencing.

The committee proposed Unified License (National) will be a combination of telecom services and would be delinked with spectrum and will have limited terms and conditions for spectrum. This will help administering services at a national level, the committee has stated in a note.

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First Published: Sat, February 02 2013. 00:40 IST