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PM clears air over 3G auction; bidding shortly

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that 3G telephony spectrum would be auctioned soon, thus ending the uncertainty generated by reported differences between ministries of telecom and defence on vacation of airwaves.

"I am happy that auction of spectrum for 3G and broadband wireless services will be conducted shortly. In a reform initiative, the government has decided that this spectrum will be allocated at market determined prices rather than administered one," he said at a telecom conference here.

There were reports that auction of 3G spectrum (air waves) could be delayed beyond scheduled January 14, 2010 and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was entrusted with the responsibility of resolving inter-ministerial dispute.

The Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Mukherjee, had late last month cleared over Rs 10,000-crore package for building alternate network for the defence force to get spectrum vaccated for commercial use and the same was to go to Cabinet for clearance.

Singh also predicted that India, which already has nearly 488 million mobile users and adds about 15-16 million users a month, could witness robust growth in the sector given the fact that the economic downturn is showing signs of moderation.

First Published: Fri, December 04 2009. 20:07 IST