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Updated: 3G Auction completed after 34 days of bidding

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FinMin asks DoT to speed up 3G auction process

12 Oct, 2008, 1446 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: The Finance Ministry has asked the Department of Telecom to speed up 3G spectrum auction process, so that operators can roll out services as early as possible, and avoid introducing new clauses in the guidelines, which can cause further delays.

"The process to complete auction for 3G spectrum and rolling out of services is already much delayed and needs to be speeded up and completed as early as possible, latest by December 2008," Department of Economic Affairs Secretary Ashok Chawla said in a letter to Telecom Secretary Sidhharth Behura.

The Finance Ministry has also advised DoT to sort out all the outstanding issues at the earliest and not open fresh issues at this juncture, the letter said.

MoF is irked by the proposal of DoT to split 2G and 3G revenues, as it feels this would lead to loss of revenue to the government.

Finance Ministry had earlier also expressed its unhappiness when DoT had fixed a reserve base price of Rs 2,020 for a Pan India 3G licence, saying the value of spectrum is much higher than what DoT has put in the auction. MoF wanted the minimum base price to be raised to Rs 2,500 crore.

As for the segregation of revenues, MoF has said it would lead to operators camouflaging 2G revenue to avoid paying the revenue share.

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COAI bats for 2G, 3G revenues segregation theory

13 Oct, 2008, 1935 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: GSM operators' group COAI on Monday strongly supported DoT proposal to have separate revenues for 2G and 3G services, adding that this model will also speed up 3G roll-out in the country.

COAI Director General TV Ramachandran said that segregation of 2G revenues was not only possible but also desirable, as it would push operators to expeditiously enhance their 3G footprint (on account of lower usage charges for 3G services), thus benefiting the consumers and the country in terms of broadband availability.

"This was also an excellent way for the Government to incentivise faster roll-out and availability of 3G services to deliver benefits of broadband to the Indian consumers," he added.

Ramachandran further said that since 3G spectrum was being acquired through an open bidding process, the current market value of the 3G spectrum would be correctly reflected in the final bid price. "Therefore, it is only the administrative charges for spectrum usage that are required to be recovered through the annual revenue share levy," he clarified.

COAI draws attention to the fact that the dual technology clause allowed operators to segregate revenues for CDMA and GSM revenues. Ramachandran said that revenues for 3G services, which were also run on WCDMA, can similarly be differentiated.

He also gave the example of the UK where segregation of 2G and 3G services is practised. While Hong Kong too followed segregation model, it is not preferable due to the complexity involved, said COAI.

COAI said the revenue break-up can be implemented in two simple ways as reference either by traffic-based approach or call data record (CDR) approach.

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Govt sets up panel to look into 2G, 3G revenue split

14 Oct, 2008, 0000 hrs IST, Et

NEW DELHI: The government on Monday said that it had set up a committee to examine if telcos can split their 2G and 3G revenues and declare them separately even as both GSM and CDMA operators have taken opposite views on the issue.

“The sub-committee formed by the department (for 2G and 3G revenue segregation) will come up with its report very soon,” Communications and IT Minister A Raja told reporters on the sidelines of the South Asian Telecommunication Regulators’ Council (SARTC) conference.

The industry is heavily divided on the issue. CDMA-based operators, the finance ministry and telecom regulator Trai have all told the DoT that it would not be possible to declare revenues from 2G and 3G streams separately while GSM operators insist it can be achieved.

The Cellular Operators Association of India, the body representing all GSM players, on Monday also offered their formula to the Government for separating their 3G revenues from 2G services for the purpose of calculating the annual spectrum charges.

COAI cited Hong Kong as a case in point to have separated the 2G and 3G revenues of telcos. Director general of COAI T V Ramachandran also pointed out the case of United Kingdom, where segregation of 2G and 3G calls had been implemented on account of different termination rates for 2G and 3G.

The issue of revenue separation has shot into prominence because, the DoT, in its 3G policy, had said that will pay 1% of their gross revenues from 3G services spectrum usage charges. Besides, it said this 1% fee would only be applicable from the second year of 3G operations.

The Ministry of Finance felt the DoT proposal to split 2G and 3G revenues would lead to loss of revenue to the government as it would lead to operators camouflaging 2G revenue to avoid paying the revenue share.

The COAI, however, refuses to budge. Its director general T V Ramachandran also pointed that since the 2G base stations and the 3G base stations were clearly different and distinctly identifiable in the network, the segregation could be done either on the basis of the traffic generated by the 2G and 3G base stations respectively.

He also added that the traffic based approach would correctly capture and reflect the 2G and 3G usage by a subscriber and in fact, every time a 3G subscriber used the 2G network, that usage would be accounted and paid for at applicable rates prescribed for 2G.

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Govt may relax payment norms for 3G winners

15 Oct, 2008, 0029 hrs IST, ET

KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure that the global economic meltdown does not adversely impact the upcoming 3G auctions, the government is conside ring relaxing the auction guidelines to make it easier for telcos to pay large sums.

On top of the agenda is a the introduction of a staggered payment option for successful bidders.

Successful bidders may only have to pay the reserve price upfront and pay the rest in equal instalments. The base price for pan-India spectrum has been set at about Rs 2,020 crore by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

The global liquidity crisis has made it difficult for telcos to borrow. AT&T’s global chairman Randall Stephenson had recently warned that the company was facing difficulty borrowing as banks were “limiting their lendings”. Although he was not referring to India, difficulties in fund-raising could hit its plans here as well. An India entry will cost AT&T upwards of $4 billion.

“The proposal is at an initial stage — specific dates may be fixed by DoT to evolve either a quarterly or a bi-annual payment mechanism over and above the minimum reserve price. The finance ministry will need to come on board before a decision is taken,” said a government source familiar with the development.

The government hopes to raise about Rs 40,000 crore from the 3G auctions. However, the policy entitles successful bidders a maximum of 5 MHz of 3G frequency, which is inadequate for new foreign telcos to launch operations.

Add to that the fact that cash is not easy to come by right now and industry experts and market watchers say that the auction may be largely limited to existing Indian operators.

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3G spectrum auction put off till January

Economic Times l 18 Oct l Mumbai

MUMBAI: The much-awaited auction of 3G spectrum will now be held in January as the department of telecom (DoT) does not have adequate airwaves in nine out of 22 circles. Delay in spectrum vacation by the defence forces, coupled with the holiday season in December, has pushed back the process that could bring about Rs 40,000 crore to the treasury.

The global financial turmoil notwithstanding, DoT has framed a schedule to complete the auction by January after the finance ministry expressed concern over the delay in the process. The ministry had written to the DoT on October 13, to conclude the auction at the earliest.

However, according to sources, DoT is still in talks with defence ministry to get the spectrum vacated in the 2.1 Ghz 3G band in nine circles. “We do not have enough spectrum available in the 2.1Ghz band. Similarly, in the 2.5 Ghz band (for WiMax), we have one block of 25Mhz and another of 15 Mhz. Steps are on to get this changed to two blocks of 20 Mhz each, for which consultations are on with the department of space and their decision is awaited,” sources told ET.

In the 2.3 Ghz band (also for WiMax), spectrum being used by various public sector organisations is being reframed to ensure that 40Mhz is available for auction.

The auction was earlier scheduled in December. “The last fortnight of December, being holiday season, would not be the best time for conducting an international auction of this magnitude. This new timeframe will be sent to the finance ministry early next week,” said the sources.

“As per the new timeline, DoT is targeting to sign contracts with successful bidders and receive the first tranche of auction money (25% of the total) by January 31,” they added.

Consultation with stakeholders, auction design, preparation of bid document and design of auction site by e-auction agency N M Rothschild, will be over by November 30. Subsequently, DoT will invite parties to bid and undertake testing of auction platform and software. This will be completed around mid-December. Auctions in all the circles will be completed and winners will be announced by January 15. “We hope to sign contracts with successful bidders by January 25,” sources said.



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Another delay... I think we r quite unlucky.. We will start using 3G when world has switched on to 5G.. Lol..

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i knew this would happen thats y i m not expecting full fledged 3g before late 2009/early 2010 when other countries would b setting up LTE/4G

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I am not Waiting now Made all Home / Office Branches as Wifi. and on Road that Plain old EDGE on Airtel.

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3G auction to take place by Jan 15

Business Line l 22 Oct l New Delhi

Move to help telecom companies tide over funds crunch.


3G auction schedule

Auction design, bid document to be prepared by November 30

Inviting operators to bid: December 15

Prequalification of bidders: December 31

Auction to be completed by January 15

Signing of contracts with successful bidders by January 25

Depositing of first tranch of auction money by January 31


The ongoing liquidity crunch may not impact telecom operators’ plans to bid for third generation spectrum, with the Government deciding to conduct the auction in January.

The Department of Telecom had earlier planned to conduct the auction by December 31 but has now postponed it by two weeks to January 15 after the operators and bankers sought extension.

“We have no problems in completing the auction by December 31 as was planned earlier but bankers and operators have asked for extending the timeline. We will complete the auction by January 15,” said Mr Siddhartha Behura, Secretary, DoT.

Industry representatives indicated that by pushing the auction to January, DoT has taken care of the liquidity crunch that operators may have faced due to the global financial crisis.

“January is when most global funds start a new financial year. By conducting the auction in January, telecom players will be able to source adequate funds as the institutions would be having their funds available for the entire year,” said an industry representative.

According to the schedule worked out by DoT, operators will be asked to put in their expression of interest to take part in the bidding by December 15.

The schedule prepared by DoT comes after the Finance Ministry expressed concern at the delay in conducting the auction.

This also assumes significance because there was a feeling within the industry that the 3G auction may get delayed due to the global financial crisis.

The difference between GSM and CDMA operators over bifurcation of 2G and 3G revenue was also being seen as a delaying factor. DoT has sought to dispel any confusion over 3G auction by preparing the detailed schedule.

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This will and must be completed before ELection

I am Damn Sure MNP and 3G will be Auctioned Before the Union Election. everybody knows why !!!

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UPA Government will definitely deny Indians 3G connectivity for sure. They are siding with Mobile Cartel to block entries through various litigations between various bodies (GoI, TRAI, COAI, DOT etc...). I had predicted earlier that Indians will probably get 3G around 2010 if we are lucky. Mobile operators want to milk our money without sweating any extra money. 3G infrastructure cost will be so huge and with down-turn economic conditions, they would try to avoid it for another few more years. It is easy to purchase Babus & Ministers than competing in the market. Mittals, Ambanis & Tatas have been doing this for a century.

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But i am 100% Confident of 3G Spectrum Auctioning by the end of 31 Jan 2009

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The auctioning will most likely take place by 31.01.09, but then the deployment of 3G services will not be available till March 2010. There will be many legal cases and one technology fighting the other, one telco fighting another or maybe the private telcos will fight the BSNL/MTNL just for delaying matters. I agree with Ramchi, that we will as end customers, see 3G only by 2010 by which time, the world will have moved onto 5G. No one is interested in introducing it early, whether there are elections in Feb.'09 or later.

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India Says Carriers in U.S., U.K. Keen on 3G Permits


October 29, 2008

India's phone regulator said operators in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy and Australia ``are interested'' in bidding for a permit to offer high-speed services in the South Asian nation.

The bids by the ``well-known'' operators may allow India to have its first third-generation service by September 2009, Nripendra Misra, chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, said in an interview in Hong Kong today. The country may have 40 million 3G users by the end of 2009, he said.

``Foreign investors are all the time knocking, all the time wanting to enter,'' Misra said.

India, whose mobile-phone users exceed the U.S. population, may allow as many as 10 operators to offer 3G services, Communications and Information Technology Minister Andimuthu Raja said Aug. 1. An auction for radio spectrum in the world's fastest-growing major mobile-phone market is planned before the year-end, he said at the time.

New entrants to the Indian mobile-phone sector will face competition from existing operators including Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Communications Ltd. and Vodafone Essar Ltd., the three biggest local wireless carriers.

``It will be very tough competition, as the incumbents in India are highly efficient,'' said Misra, in Hong Kong to attend a conference organized by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia.

Joint Ventures

Foreign companies will need to form ventures with local firms to bid for the 3G licenses in order to comply with government limits on overseas investments in the telecommunications industry, Misra said. India has a 74 percent cap on foreign ownership in phone companies.

State-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. were allotted spectrum on Aug. 7 to offer the high-speed services, ahead of the planned auction. Bharat Sanchar plans to start 3G services by January, Chairman Kuldeep Goyal said in the same month.

India added 10.1 million wireless users in September, taking its total to 315.3 million, according to data from the regulator. The country is seeking to increase wireless users to 500 million by 2010, Misra said today.

So even the TRAI officials are now looking forward to September 2009 for the start!

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They said Third Generation service by September end, Not the auctioning. Auctioning will end on 31st Jan.

We headed for 3.5 with at least 7.2 mbps speed remember when 3G started in Koria in 2003 WCDMA were offering mere 380 kbps and 25 kbps upload max worst then EDGE of today. means 3G have been evolved too much in these 6 years and its almost 3.5G 3.75G now.

3G with only Software Updates it will evolve to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) require 4 times the 3G 2100 Mhz bandwidth means. 5mhz x 4 and Same with Upload. 4G is not Technology Enhancement its only Spectrum Enhancement with Multiband Operations.

And if the Private Operator dont come with 3G BSNL is sure gonna launch it in Next March in Major cities. use MNP to Switch to it Temporarily.

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3G on fast track: Ministries work out compromise formula

MoneyControl l 10 Nov l New Delhi

With just two months left for 3G auction, the Ministry of Communication and the Defence Ministry are putting together a plan of action for getting the spectrum vacated by the armed forces in a phased manner.

According to the proposal being finalised, the Telecom Ministry may agree to build an optical fibre cable system for the Army and Navy in addition to the one being rolled out for the Air Force. The Defence Ministry, on its part, could agree to give the Department of Telecom two-three years to complete the network for the Army and Navy.

According to the proposal, only the radio frequency being used by the Air Force will be vacated by December, since it has the major chunk of the spectrum.

For this the cable network being built by BSNL at a cost of over Rs 1,000 crore will be handed over to the Air Force by March next year. BSNL will lay a cable network connecting 162 Air Force sites across the country. Of this, 25 have been completed and another 88 will be done by December 2008.

Easing the shortage

At present, there is a shortage of 3G spectrum in nine circles including Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal. The shortage will be eased once the Air Force releases the spectrum after moving its communication to the new cable network. For the Army and Navy, a network of 40,000 route km will be rolled out connecting 270 locations. DoT has also offered the Army two options for laying the network — one of which is at a cost of Rs 14,250 crore over a three-year period.

Alternative plan

Earlier, the defence forces were insisting that the Telecom Ministry should build an alternative medium of communication for all the three wings of armed forces simultaneously.

However, DoT had refused to build a network for the Army and Navy on the grounds that they had only a small portion of spectrum.

Out of the 45 Mhz spectrum under consideration, the Air Force has 42.5 Mhz. DoT had not agreed to a network for the Army and Navy because it will cost upwards of Rs 5,000 crore for getting just 2.5 Mhz spectrum.

The standoff between the two Ministries had threatened to delay the launch of 3G services in the country prompting the Prime Minister to set up a Group of Ministers headed by the External Affairs Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. A committee under the National Security Advisor was also set up to resolve the issue.

The NSA had directed that the spectrum will be released by the defence services after a concrete action is initiated on the alternative optical fibre cable network. The GoM is expected to meet next week to ratify the action plan.

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i m sick and tired of waiting for the auctions........god knows when will they commence.....till when will v have to bear the slow edge speeds .....in which u cant even get a call while browsing

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3G cos to pay 3% spectrum fee from Jan'09: Telecom Secy

Moneycontrol l 11 November

Siddartha Behura, Telecom Secretary, said the 3G companies will pay 3% spectrum fee and will get a moratorium on the spectrum fee in first year itself.

Behura said no decision has been taken yet on 1-time spectrum enhancement fee, but rise in spectrum charges is effective from January 1 2009.

Companies offering 2G and 3G service will pay spectrum fee from the start, he added.

According to source-based reports from Newswire18, DoT or Department of Telecom may ask companies to pay one-time spectrum charge by March 31 2009 and the new companies will pay extra charge at time of spectrum allotment.

Earlier today, a report from Newswire18 said, Bharti Airtel has added 2.72 million subscribers in October compared with 2.7 million in September.

Meanwhile, Idea added 1.2 million subscribers in October versus 1.1 million in September.

MTNL added 66,097 subscribers for the same month as against 38,478 in September and Spice Communications added 37,385 subscribers in October compared with 36,614 in September.

Thus total October GSM subscriber summed up at 7.7 million versus 7.69 million in September.

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Telenor to focus on 2G rollout now, no call yet on 3G

Norwegian telecom company Telenor had recently announced that it was acquiring 60% in Unitech Wireless for USD 1.07 billion. CNBC-TV18’s Nayantara Rai speaks to Telenor’s Global Chief, Jon Fredrik Baksaas.

Baksaas said, given the liquidity crunch, Telenor has still deided to expand and come to India, soen thing whioch the investor's of Telenor have not taken very well.

For it to expand there will be big cash flow requirement and this cash flow has been negatively received by Telenor's investors. He said, “Negative sentiment was of greater swing than we had anticipated.”

Besides, Baksaas said that Telenor will focus on 2G roll out now and has not yet taken a call on 3G roll out.

According to chief, Telenor, which agreed to pick up 60% in Unitech wireless for USD 1.22 billion, has not said that it will change its mind on USD 2 billion rights issue.

The chief said Telenor will apply shortly to Indian Government for required approvals and is expecting that the Government would ask about its operations in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Via : Moneycontrol

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Alternative network for defence to be completed by 2011: DoT

Economic Times l 20 November l New Delhi

In a move that could complicate the release of third generation (3G) spectrum by the armed forces, the department of telecom (DoT) has told the defence ministry that an alternative optic fibre network being built for the forces would be completed only by 2011 and would cost nearly Rs 10,000 crore.

The defence forces have always maintained that they will vacate spectrum only after completion of the alternate network.

The defence forces occupy a bulk of 3G spectrum used for high-end services like video conferencing on mobiles, high-speed Internet and fast downloads in nine of the 22 telecom circles. Unless such spectrum is vacated, telcos won’t be able to launch 3G services in the country.

The armed forces have contended that they should have a reliable alternative network and full connectivity before the existing spectrum is vacated.

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Defence spectrum band gets a relook

Economic Times l 20 Nov l New Delhi

NEW DELHI: The department of telecom (DoT) and the armed forces have revived the plan to have a ‘defence (spectrum) band’ or classifying all spectrum used by the forces into a single band.

With an exclusive spectrum band, the armed forces will develop or buy technologies that work only in their band, ensuring greater national security. Commercial users of spectrum such as telcos and broadcasters would be able to use only the civilian band.

Europe and the United States have divided all their spectrum, or airwaves on which signals used by communication, broadcasting and wireless internet travel, into civilian and military bands.

In India, the proposal to have a defence spectrum band was first mooted in 2005, but was put on the backburner. During recent meetings between officials of the communications and defence ministries, chaired by National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, it was decided that India would explore this model, sources told ET.

The concept will work as follows: Currently, the armed forces use radio frequencies across several frequency bands for their communication, signaling and other operations. All airwaves in the country will be divided into two categories – civilian and military, after talks between both ministries.

The defence forces will then have to vacate all airwaves (spectrum) that come under the civilian band. Both the communication and defence ministries will soon launch talks to resolve the complications associated with having a defence band.

For instance, both ministries will have to work out a model to compensate the armed forced on the costs incurred in shifting or reconfiguring all their systems to work on the defence band. Additionally, the armed forces may also have to buy new equipment.

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India presses ahead with 3G spectrum sale despite crisis

Press Trust of India l 25 Nov l New Delhi

India said on Tuesday it would press ahead with an auction of airwaves to offer so-called third generation or 3G mobile phone services despite the global financial crisis.

All radio frequencies for providing 3G services would be offered through an auction process in which telecoms companies -- existing operators, licence holders and international players -- can bid.

Communications Minister Andimuthu Raja said "broad guidelines" for the 3G bidders have been issued and independent auctioneer N.M. Rothschild had been chosen to conduct the auction.

The auction process is expected to start in a few days and be completed in mid-January, officials said in New Delhi, although no detail was available on how many licences would be issued.

The government has set a floor price for a licence of 20 billion rupees (400 million dollars) but the "government expects to realise significantly higher amounts," Raja told an editors' conference.

He earlier said the auction could fetch the government a total 400 billion rupees (eight billion dollars).

However, even if it appears the sale will bring in less money than expected due to the global financial turmoil, Raja said on Tuesday that India would go ahead with the auction as "it is the progress of the country that counts."

The move will give mobile users access to high-end data applications on their phones, including high speed interactive gaming and Internet access, video conferencing, video streaming and other multimedia features.

The plans to stage the auction to allocate new spectrum came as data showed Indian mobile telephone operators signed up a record 10.42 million users in October, bucking a slowdown in the rest of the economy.

The new additions were up from 10.07 million new subscribers the month before, data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India showed.

India still lags far behind China which has over 600 million mobile users. Teledensity, the number of users per 100 people -- stands at 30.64.

With the mobile sales boom, scarce spectrum has become a sore issue with Indian mobile operators who are eager to get next-generation frequencies to ease airwave congestion in the country of over 1.1 billion people.

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DoT to meet potential bidders between Dec 11-13: Sources

CNBC-TV18 l 25 Nov

The DoT, or Department of Telecom, said it will meet with potential bidders between December 11 and 13 and will hold 3G and broadband pre-bid conference on December 19, reports CNBC-TV, quoting sources.

DoT’s final date for submitting applications for 3G and broadband auction is December 31. The pre-qualification of bidders will be on January 5, sources said.

Mock auction of 3G and broadband spectrum is scheduled on December 12 and 13, while the first phase of 3G and broadband auction is on January 16. The Second phase is to be held on February 9, sources added.

Earlier today, it was learnt from a source from the DoT that the government is short of 5-25 MHz 3G spectrum in nine circles. "There is no 3G spectrum shortage in Mumbai, so six companies can offer 3G. Delhi can have three companies offering 3G services, and is short by 15 MHz."

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Govt sets 5 blocks for pan-India 3G licences

CNBC-TV18 l 25 Nov

Here is a verbatim transcript of Siddharth Zarabi’s comments on CNBC-TV18.

The government gave out some estimates today. It said that there will at least be 5 blocks of pan-India spectrum for 3G licenses. The reserve price according to the government is estimated to yield at least Rs 10,100 crore. If you were to look at a multiple of at least three-four times, this is what we have been hearing from industry, you are looking at a ballpark figure of Rs 40,000 crore, which would mean good news for the fiscal.

Similarly for the broadband wireless services, the government is looking at a total reserve price – all India four blocks – of around Rs 4,040 crore. Similarly, we could at least expect a multiple of two times and therefore you are looking at significant amounts being raised from these auctions for the government.

The 3G auction will be a two-stage process. The first process will be the clock stage where blocks of spectrum are available in each circle. It ranges from two to four. Delhi for instance has two 3G slots, apart from the one that has been given to the state-owned operator. It has already been promised to them. Mumbai has four slots. So, bidders will keep bidding, and this will continue to escalate till a stage where all the four or two slots have been exhausted.

Then we have a second stage, which is called the assignment stage where the bidders will actually be given specific frequencies as they identified and they might have preferences for particular slots. That will complete the two-stage process. So, we are looking at between two-four licences in the metros and in certain other areas like the North-East there are more licences available for grabs. BSNL and MTNL will pay the same amount as licence fee as has been discovered through this auction.

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Foreign telcos’ 3G bid set to get DoT booster

Economic Times l 27 Nov

SAN DIEGO/NEW DELHI: The department of telecom (DoT) will soon unveil a series of measures to encourage foreign telcos to participate in the upcoming 3G and WiMax auctions and give them an ‘equal footing’ with existing Indian operators.

The DoT’s 3G bid document (a copy of which is available with ET) states that new entrants will be permitted to use the networks of existing operators (in those areas where they do not have a presence) until they build pan-India networks and that mobile number portability will be introduced to enable them gather subscribers from incumbents.

It also adds that foreign players will be permitted to participate in the auctions without obtaining telecom licences (as 100% entities). This implies, only those operators who are successful in the upcoming auctions need to obtain a licence and find an Indian partner (as existing regulations restrict foreign holdings to 74% and mandate that an Indian entity holds the remaining 24%).

Besides, to ensure that foreign players are not at a disadvantage, the bid document also states that intra and inter circle roaming will be mandatory between the networks of all operators.

The document also proposes that auctions for WiMax radio frequencies be held on January 16, 2009, while the bids for 3G spectrum has been pushed back to February 9. This implies that the earlier plan to have WiMax and 3G auctions simultaneously to avoid the possibility of manipulation by operators has been shelved.

Currently, all telecom services in India are offered using second generation (2G) cellular technology. Indian telcos are looking at deploying 3G or WiMax, and perhaps, even both technologies as they look to expand their offerings to the next level.

3G will enable telcos to offer high-end services such as video conferencing on the mobiles, faster downloads of movies and music files, interactive gaming and high-speed Internet access. While WiMax is largely used for data applications, it could also be used to provide voice services and is, therefore, considered a threat to third generation (3G) telecom technology, since both platforms are used for similar applications.

As per the pre-bid document, all telcos interested in participating in the auctions must submit their applications by December 31, 2008. Interestingly, the document also adds that a mock auction will be held on January 12 –13 to familiarise all bidders of the entire process.

The government’s 3G bid document also provides clarity on the quantum of spectrum available for 3G auctions.

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