India 2G auction won't start before Dec

Dylan Bushell-Embling
14 Mar 2012

India's Department of Telecom won't be ready to start the auction of the 2G spectrum to be vacated by a court's cancellation of 122 telecom licenses until at least December 20.

Department officials toldPress Trust of India that this timeline depends on regulator TRAI submitting its recommendations by May 17, and the process gaining government approval before the deadline.

He said the government aims to be able to invite applications to participate in the auction by September.

The auction itself is also expected to take a further 40 days, and allocations are expected to be made to companies that paid within the deadline in early March next year.

The anticipated timeline will be disappointing to those operators affected by the cancellation of their 2G licenses, as they had been hoping for a rapid resolution to the issue.

Russia's Sistema, joint owner of affected operator Sistema Shyam, has already threatened to pursue international arbitration unless the license issue is resolved within six months.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to cancel the licenses by June in the wake of the scandal over how they were allocated, Etisalat DB and S Tel have already revealed plans to shut down services.

Bahrain's Batelco has pulled out of the market by selling its stake in S Tel, and Norway's Telenor is looking for a replacement partner in Uninor.

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