India 3G auction now set for Feb 25: report

Nicole McCormick
22 Jan 2010
Daily News

India’s 3G auctions will be delayed by a couple of weeks, with a new start date now earmarked for February 25, according to the Business Standard.

The government plans to auction up to three slots per operating circle starting February 25, rather than the previously proposed date of February 12, said the report.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is insisting that the auction be wrapped up by the end of February so that the monies raised can be used to in this budgetary year which finishes March 31.

The government is aiming to raise at least $5.5 billion from the auction of three 2x5 MHz lots of 2100 MHz spectrum in most circles.

Government-owned operators BSNL and MTNL have already been awarded 2x5 MHz of spectrum in the majority of India’s 22 operating circles.

The auction is expected to be wrapped up by March 3-5.

Meanwhile, India mobile operators are facing the prospect of increased Spectrum Utilization Fees (SUF).

India’s Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Mukherjee, has signed off on a Communications Ministry proposal to up SUF’s by 2% a year.

The move will mean operators will have to collectively pay 20 billion rupee ($433.75 million) more in SUF’s to the government a year.

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