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Updated: 3G Auction completed after 34 days of bidding

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Just 1 Slot for CDMA???

Wat is the future for Ev-DO service offered by TATA/RELIANCE/BSNL in some circles??

I personally feel that 3G will be gr8 flop in India, Just look at the Subscriber No of BSNL 3G?

If they dont get subscriber the service cost will definately high to recover the bidding money??

I wont prefer a video call which is 3 or 4 times the normal charge?

nor will i prefer Mobile download charges of 1p/kb, when i get a Ev-do service for 1k for 10Gb

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in India 3G even if comes, I doubt service providers will be able to offer it cheap due to licence fees and data requirement of people. If you look at broad band services, its evident that most people prefer slower speed but unlimited downloads. People just dont need high speed data....

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Just Stop Discussing it

Do we really want 3G if Government is Asking Rs 3500 Crores + Network Roll out cost + Rural Obligatory Rollout means Rs. 12500 Crores Wasted Now Who the Hell will provide you cheaper Data Plan

Just Forget about Dreaming to about 3G. more you discuss more you loose your Hairs and will get Bald. Just be assured when you retire you will get good Speed on any thing like 5G or 6G Technology. Bye then Meet me in Future

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i agree with hetal on this :cry:

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I think Rimweb should have zero tolerence policy for 3G discussion. It should be banned. :banned2:

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Operators will use this 3G spectrum only to reduce the congestion in voice(2G)spectrum which is good for us again.

I feel Vodafone will offer the best and cheapest(hope so) 3G data in GSM bcoz of their international expertise. Heard that they offer 7.2Mbps in UK.

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Bharti AirTel to launch 3G service by October 2010

Press Trust of India / New Delhi September 2, 2009, 16:58 IST

Within a weak of the government announcing plans to auction spectrum for 3G mobile services, India's largest private cellular operator Bharti Airtel today said it will launch the service by October next year.

"If everything goes well on time with regard to spectrum auction, by February or March we will have spectrum allocation. By next Diwali (2010), we will have commercial launch of 3G services in India," Bharti Airtel CEO Manoj Kohli said on the sidelines of a function organised by Qualcom here.

The government has fixed Rs 3,500 crore as the base price for pan-India 3G spectrum and the auction for the same is expected to be completed by November.

Bharti has already announced its decision to participate in the 3G process.

Asked about the development on Bharti's proposed $23 billion deal with MTN, Kohli said the process is on and declined to answer.

Asked if Airtel anticipates by September 30 the entire issue will be resolved, he said "let's wait". Airtel and MTN are exploring an alliance and are in exclusive talks to work out for deal.

As per the original scheme of arrangement, Bharti will acquire 49 per cent in MTN whereas MTN and its shareholders will get 36 per cent economic interest in Airtel.

The alliance if happened will create a $23-billion revenue entity with over 200 million subscriber.

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FINALLY... some more dates... :Sorprendido:

Govt to hold 3G spectrum auction on Dec 7

The government will hold the much-awaited 3G spectrum auction for GSM operators on December 7 and invite bids from October 26 to November 13.

It will hold the auction for EVDO (CDMA version of 3G) and Broadband Wireless Access after two days of the 3G auction.

The winners will have to pay their bid deposit amounts within five days of the closure of the auction and pay the balance after 15 days.

The Department of Telecom will issue a revised Information Memorrandum on September 29. And keeping in view the security concerns, it has asked for publications of ownership details of the applicants along with compliance certificates so that nothing goes wrong at the bidding stage.

According to the timetable, aspirant companies would have to submit their authenticated ownership certificates by November 23. And before that they will have to give details of their shareholdings by November 18.

A pre-bid conference will be held on October 12 and the deadline for submission of questions for the meet will be held on October 8.

The DoT will issue clarifications if any on October 22. A mock auction will be held for two days on October 3 and 4.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News-by-Industry/Govt-to-hold-3G-auction-on-Dec-7/articleshow/5005624.cms

Detailed timelines @ http://www.dot.gov.in/

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Dates = "Khajur"

Ha ha ha :Contento: :Contento: :Riendo: :Riendo:

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3G allocations hit fresh hurdle :frown:

After announcing the datelines for the auction of third-generation (3G) airwaves, the communications ministry may now be unable to

honour its commitment of accommodating five operators per circle.

This comes as the defence ministry has now refused to adhere to the timelines specified in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the department of telecom (DoT) and the armed forces for the vacation of these 3G airwaves. The defence ministry conveyed this during a meeting with the officials of the communications ministry on September 11, according to documents available with ET.

The DoT can give 3G spectrum to five telcos only, if the defence ministry releases these two blocks of 3G spectrum as agreed. Otherwise, DoT will not have sufficient radio frequencies to accommodate five 3G players in nine of the 22 telecom circles in the country. This means, if the defence does not vacate 3G airwaves, only two telcos can be given spectrum for high-end services in Delhi and Gujarat, three each in Himachal Pradesh and UP (West), four players each in UP (East), Assam and J&K and a single telco can be accommodated in West Bengal.


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With all these spectrum unavailability stuff, I wonder, Why can't the government just allow the use of the existing 900/1800MHz for 3G. Its being used in some countries. right? :'(

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It's official, 3G auction will be late again

6 Oct 2009, 0446 hrs IST

Economic Times

Telecom minister A Raja on Monday said the auction of airwaves to offer third-generation mobile services will be concluded by the end of

the financial year, making it clear that the government will miss the December 7 date.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the ITU world summit here, Mr Raja also said various foreign companies have expressed interest in participating in the 3G auctions that will "generate at least Rs 25,000 crore of revenue for the Indian government".

ET reported in its edition on Monday that the 3G auctions, which will pave way for streaming video and high-speed Internet on mobiles, may not be held on December 7 as was announced by the department of telecom (DoT) last month.

Mr Raja also confirmed an earlier ET report that the successful 3G bidders will also be allotted 2G airwaves. "The successful 3G bidder will be issued a universal access service licence (UASL)," he said, adding that they will be allocated 2G spectrum "as and when it is available".

This was a major demand of foreign telecom companies looking to take part in the 3G auction that has been delayed several times since 2007 due to reasons ranging from infighting between ministries to the failure of the government and telecom regulator TRAI to agree on terms of the auctions.

DoT was slated to release the information memorandum (IM) that contains all the details of the auction including availability of radio frequencies across circles, policy changes, the rules of the auction and mode of payment among several other issues to all potential bidders by September 29, but failed to do so.

According to officials, DoT failed to release the IM as it is yet to map out the availability of 3G airwaves across most circles with the armed forces refusing to adhere to the timelines to vacate the airwaves.

With the IM yet to be released, the October 8 deadline for submission of questions for the pre-bid conference will also be postponed along with all other timelines such as those for submission of bids and mock auctions. All this makes December 7 auction extremely unlikely. Mr Raja knows it as well as anybody else.

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Why the h**l, these peoples delaying the auction...

Is it for to get more money frm tight competition ?

but they are just forgetting the customers :Equivocado::Equivocado:

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Cost of 3G auction delay to companies: $6 billion

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2009


It's not just telecom operators who are disappointed with the delay in 3G spectrum auctions. Equipment suppliers say deals worth USD 6 billion are hanging in the balance. CNBC-TV18’s Kenan Machado reports.

For telecom equipment manufacturers, orders worth USD 6 billion have temporarily gone out of reach — all because of a delay in the auction of 3G spectrum.

Players like Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Z-T-E and Huawei, for whom the Indian telecom growth story has been a treasure trove, now have to rework plans to keep revenue flow going.

Says Pankaj Gandhi, Head - Customer Marketing, Nokia-Siemens Networks, “We have been waiting for 3G to happen and we did have plans. After recent announcement of delays, there has been a shift in our plans. We have been eagerly waiting but it’s not happening on time.”

As of now only public-sector telecom companies BSNL and MTNL have ordered 3G equipment.

BSNL's order is worth USD 100 million while MTNL's order is estimated to be in the range of USD 25 million.

Suppliers are now taking hope from the fact that the government has only delatyed the auction, not cancelled it.

“The fact is that the government is keen to go ahead with auctions in general. If it gets delayed by a month or so, to me it’s a time shift we are not too concerned about because from a practical point of view, it is evident that the government as a whole has decided to go ahead with it. So we welcome that,” says P Balaji, VP- Marketing & Strategy, Ericsson.

The delay is also affecting players who supply equipment to consumers. The 3G spectrum auctions are expected to create demand for equipment like data cards and low cost computing solutions, for which they can tie up with hardware manufacturers. But with this delay, even these orders are taking a backseat.

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Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Mittal has asked the government to auction four slots of 3G spectrum in all the circles in January next year. His request follows DoT’s Information Memorandum pointing lack of spectrum in Delhi, North East, Rajasthan and Gujarat till June 2010.

“The auction is expected to close in February and the operators would require a few months to roll out their networks, and therefore, even if there is a delay until June it will not be of any serious negative consequences,” said Mittal

Presently there are only 2 slots available in these circles except for Rajasthan and North East where no spectrum is available. Spectrum in these circles is expected only after the Defence vacate it for commercial use.

“I would like to point out that the auction of two slots for Delhi and Gujarat will create scarcity premium in these two circles, putting them at a disadvantage vis-a-vis other circles in the country. Why should a Delhi customer, or the operator, suffer the scarcity premium, compared with say Mumbai. I would like to urge that uniform four slots be auctioned all over the country,” added Mittal.

Mittal said that even if the Defence forces are not able to vacate spectrum before the auction, the DoT should conduct the auctions now of the slots with the remaining two slots to be given on their availability in June 2010.

“Rajasthan and North East, given their urgent development needs, will benefit from early 3G auctions,” he added.

source :: http://telecomtiger.com/3G_fullstory.aspx?storyid=7655&section=S208

The point raised by Mittal is very interesting.

He's really scared of competition. He feels that available 2 slots in Delhi and Gujarat will be mustured away from Airtel by its competitors participating in auction.

But still I support that idea in order to avoid scarcity premium if Govt is 100% sure of the availability of spectrum by June.

If Govt. has even 0.1% doubt about the availability by June its better not to auction.

Scarcity premium is better than auctioning unavailable spectrum which will lead to series of litigations.

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Pitroda to negotiate 3G spectrum

Signs of further delay in 3G auction.

New Delhi: Sam Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovations, now holds the key to the proposed 3G (third generation) telecom auction.

The committee of secretaries (CoS), which was set up to monitor the issue of vacation of spectrum by defence forces and reallocation of that spectrum to telcos, has now referred the matter to Pitroda, it is learnt. Cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar was heading the CoS.

Known as a telecom and IT czar for his contribution to the sector during Rajiv Gandhi's time, Pitroda has been brought to the scene to resolve the spectrum mess, a source said.

The 3G auction process is set to start on November 14 with submission of questions for a pre-bid conference, according to the schedule of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The 3G bidding is to start on January 14, 2010, according to the DoT calendar.

But the auction dates may have to be deferred as Pitroda would need time to study the issue, deliberate over the matter with DoT and the defence ministry, and come to a logical conclusion. The finance ministry, which is keen on a quick auction, would also have to be consulted. Pitroda is expected to give a verdict on whether spectrum is available for transfer or not with the defence forces.

At the centre of the problem is the dearth of spectrum that can be allocated to telcos for offering 3G services. While DoT had recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the defence ministry for vacation of spectrum, it is believed that the defence forces are not willing to part with the scarce natural resource now.

It is learnt that the defence ministry is arguing that it's using the spectrum and is insisting on an alternate communication platform before any spectrum can be vacated.

DoT's view is that some of the defence spectrum can be vacated now before the 3G auction takes place, while an alternate communication network can be completed later.

Meanwhile, a meeting has been scheduled between the key Cabinet ministers this week on the 3G issue. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, communications minister A Raja and defence minister AK Antony are likely to meet on November 11.

For the finance ministry, the 3G spectrum auction is extremely significant. The auction, which has been deferred many times in the past for various reasons, is expected to fetch the government about Rs 35,000 crore. And this money would go a long way in bridging the country's steep fiscal deficit -- 6.8% of the GDP (about Rs 53 lakh crore, at current prices, in FY09).

With the DoT falling under the Central Bureau of Investigation scanner for alleged irregularities in allocation of 2G (second generation) spectrum to some companies, causing a loss of around Rs 60,000 crore to the Exchequer, a section in the government is of the view that sale of 3G spectrum must be kept on hold till the investigation comes to a logical conclusion.

3G systems represent the next step in the evolution of mobile cellular communication.

2G systems focus on voice communication, while 3G systems support increased data communication. They allow high speed data transfer of at least 144 kbps, mobile Internet access, entertainment, and triple-play converged communications services, and have markedly greater capacity and spectrum efficiency than 2G systems.

source :: http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_pitroda-to-negotiate-3g-spectrum_1309498

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The things are getting murkier day by day and I'm losing hope that auction will happen within this fiscal.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has pointed out numerous discrepancies in the revised Information Memorandum (IM) released by DoT in October.

Firstly as per the IM, 3G spectrum in five circles namely Punjab, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam falls outside the coordinated band of 1954-1979 MHz. The MoD had released spectrum in the 1969 to 1979 Mhz band while the IM shows 1962.5-1967.5 to 1967.5-1972.5 bands.

Secondly the MoD has asked DoT that page 33 of the IM does not indicates specific frequency bands and indicates only the quantum of spectrum to be auctioned. The MoD cites that the earlier IM released in December last year mentioned the spectrum to be auctioned state-wise.

Thirdly the MD draws attention to the fact that the annotation at pages8 & 33 of the IM indicates that the government is validating the frequency available across circles for the auction and final details of the frequencies to be auctioned will be notified in the notice to be issued on 8.12.2009.

Fourthly the MoD has asked DoT as to why the 10 MHz of 3G spectrum in the 1969-1979 MHz band which is released by MoD is not reflected in the revised IM.

It has also asked DoT to expedite the coordination of Defence Band and notification of the Defence Interest Zone (DIZ).

source :: http://www.telecomtiger.com/PolicyNRegulation_fullstory.aspx?passfrom=PolicyNRegulation&storyid=7677&section=S174

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More loose ends than closed ones at the end of pre-bid conference.

Operators maul DoT for clarity.

India’s 3G Auction: “You’re Dealing The Cards On 8th, But We Can’t Play Blind”

A somewhat limited turnout for the pre-bid conference held by India’s Department of Telecom for offering clarifications prior to India’s much-awaited, much-delayed 3G Auctions. Issues were raised vehemently throughout the day, with TV Ramachandran of the GSM carrier body COAI, asking twice as many questions (well, almost) as the rest of the attendees. Referring to the notice detailing the 3G auction plans which is expected to be released on the 8th of December, Ramachandran pointed out that there are issues that haven’t yet been resolved: “On the 8th you’re dealing the cards, but we can’t play blind”, he said, adding that “Suppose the government comes out with a new policy on mergers and acquisitions. The game changes and what do we do them?”

The TRAI is believed to be preparing to release recommendations on M&A on the 18th of December. At the conference, carriers raised issues about lack of clarity in 2G spectrum policy, different number slots of spectrum being auctioned in different circles, the governments outlook on competing, more advanced technology like LTE, as well as issues with the auction process. At the same time, carriers expect the auction to go through this year, because they believe that fiscal compulsion and the need to raise funds is forcing the governments hand. Also overheard: “This is action replay of last years pre-bid conference. We don’t want to meet at the same place for same thing next year.” Issues raised at the pre-bid conference:

– The Queue For 2G Spectrum, Slots & Hoarding: Incumbent carriers, some of whom are in queue for receiving 2G spectrum as it becomes available, raised the issue of bundling of 2G spectrum with licenses. Companies which win the 3G spectrum auction can apply for a license, and at present, spectrum in the 4.4 MHz band is being bundled along with the Universal Access Service (UAS) license. So do the 3G auction winners get the 2G spectrum as well, and then what about those in queue? Ashok Sood of Unitech Wireless (Uninor) pushed for a clarification on the priority, since Uninor is waiting for start-up spectrum in Delhi. The government representatives declined to commit, saying that they cannot anticipate government policy. Ramachandran pushed for a clarification, rightly saying that this will have an impact on the 3G auction bid. Another exec said that in Hong Kong, they spent 4 months ironing out the policy issues, and the Indian government has had one year.

Several carrier representatives repeatedly raised the point that the auction should not be allowed before there is clarity and transparency on the 2G policy, because it will impact the auction and future plans, adding that in other countries, these issues are first sorted out prior to an auction.

– Another Auction, More Slots, Else No Pan-India 3G operator: It’s worth noting that only the spectrum that is available is being auctioned: for example, in Rajasthan and the North East, spectrum just isn’t being auctioned. This means that post these auctions, there will be no pan-India 3G telecom operator. The government representatives said that if more spectrum is put up for auction after 12 months, then steps will be taken, in the reserve price, to keep the interests of those carriers who win this 3G auction, in mind. Government representatives said that there will be another auction after this, but declined to put a timeline to it.

The overbearing demand from all carriers, however, what to auction 4 slots of spectrum per circle, instead of only

what is available. Calling the present format an unbalanced auction, Ramachandran said that it’s all right to have a waiting list, with some operators having to wait until spectrum is made available, but they would rather bid now and wait for allocation, rather than wait for another auction later. Both Bharti Airtel and the CDMA body AUSPI agreed. During the discussion following a description of the rather complicated auction process, carriers repeated this demand saying that the auction design ensures that if, for example, in West Bengal there are only two slots available, the bids will continue indefinitely because no carrier wants to blink first, and as a consequence, the bids for other circles will also have to continuously be made in order to keep ‘activity points’ up.

– GSM vs CDMA: Ramachandran raised a pertinent question about why auction rules are different for different slots of spectrum: why aren’t GSM operators allowed to bid for 800MHz spectrum, while CDMA operators are allowed a free run? Later on, issues were also raised about incumbent CDMA operators running wireless broadband services, getting a head start.

– The Auction Process: during the discussion on the auction process, for choosing between equal bids, three additional criterion were mentioned: among them were the activity tracker, which measures the bids across all circles, and a random criterion. Carriers were against the random selection process, but a more pertinent point was made about the activity tracker - it is unfair towards smaller or regional bidders for spectrum. What happens in, for the BWA spectrum auction, an ISP only wants to bid for a specific area? Given the complexity of the auction, requests were made by carriers for the mock auction to be held a few days sooner, so that they can adequately plan their strategy for the bidding process. Requests were also made for a separate tutorial. The auction is likely to last a long time, and since key decision makers can’t be kept locked up in a room for a couple of days, requests were made to allow multiple locations, some only read-only.

As mentioned earlier, there is an issue that if only two slots of spectrum are being auctioned, it’s unlikely that any of the larger carriers will blink first: so the auction can go on indefinitely, and given the activity tracker criterion, will raise bids for other slots as well. The auction process appears to be designed in a manner to maximise revenue for the government in each circle, even if some circles don’t warrant a high bid. We do need more clarity on the auction process though.

– Broadband: questions around Broadband Wireless Access were few, but a clarification came through that BWA spectrum can be used for voice if, and only if, the license allows it. BWA winners can take a UAS or an ISP Category A license, so it should be interesting if a winner of the BWA spectrum decides to bid for the UAS license which allows voice.

Questions were also raised about whether 5MHz of spectrum is enough? Most carriers believe that the 5MHz of spectrum that is being auctioned will not be enough, if adoption of data services explodes. Mobile broadband will not be a reality with just 5MHz of spectrum, and the pipes will choke; thus a request was made for some preference for those operators who win this auction, for the next one.

– Issues With Impact Of Future Technological Advancements like LTE: Carriers had questions around advanced technological deployments, for example that of Long Term Evolution (LTE), which is expected to be deployed in China and Thailand next year, and whether that will be held off so that carriers who bid in India for 3G get time to recover their investment. Questions were also raised around whether there is any restriction on technology - since LTE can be used on the 2.3MHz band. Similarly, issues were raised about 900MHz already given to some telecom operators potentially being used for 3G, since 4-5 countries have already activated the same, which was countered by issues raised around 800 MHz being used by CDMA operators for EVDO services. Idea Cellular’s Rajat Mukarji, however, spoke against refarming of spectrum, saying the UAS license allows telcos use whichever technology they want on available spectrum.

– MVNOs? Some carriers put forth the case for mandating MVNOs and intra-circle roaming for 3G winners, since this will help those operators who don’t win spectrum in the auction.

source :: http://www.medianama.com/2009/11/223-indias-3g-auction-youre-dealing-the-cards-on-8th-but-we-cant-play-blind/

TRAI is preparing 2 key recommendations at this point of time which will have greater implication on 3G auction.

1) Future spectrum policy

2) M&A guidelines on UASL players

Even the above 2 recommendations are interlinked to each other.

DoT should wait till both those recommendations are released by TRAI and implemented by DoT.

This way DoT can avoid chain of litigations after the 3G auction.

Its better that DoT releases "mock auction software game" to operators 15 days prior to auction so that operators can get acquainted with the auction rules by playing the game on their own.

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3G drama rolls on...

Stalemate on 3G spectrum continues; FM meets Raja, Antony

NEW DELHI: The auction of 3G (third generation) licences could be delayed, as the Defence Ministry is firm that it does not have any idle spectrum

to vacate as being claimed by the Department of Telecom (DoT).

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Telecom Minister A Raja and Defence Minister A K Antony yesterday in an effort to resolve the issue, highly placed sources said, adding that there was no consensus on the spectrum slots to be auctioned.

"DoT has said that they have 3G spectrum but the Ministry of Defence is not accepting it, as they are saying the radio frequency is being used by them and cannot be vacated," senior DoT officials said.

The meeting, chaired by Mukherjee, was also attended by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar, Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on infrastructure, innovation and information and telecom, defence and finance secretaries, they said.

Mukherjee, Raja and Antony are likely to meet again tomorrow. This, however, could not be confirmed.

Pitroda is understood to have made a presentation and submitted a working paper on different frequency bands which can be vacated by the defence, but the latter was not convinced, they said.

The auction of 3G spectrum was scheduled to commence on January 14 next year and the government has estimated a revenue of about Rs 35,000 crore from sale of spectrum in the current financial year.

Telecom Minister A Raja had written two letters to Mukherjee seeking his intervention to get the spectrum vacated from the Defence Ministry.

On Defence Ministry's claim that they had released two slots of 3G spectrum but the same was not disclosed by the DoT, the officials denied any such development, and feared that a continued deadlock may force the country miss the auction deadline once again.

In fact, foreign telecom companies stayed away from the pre-bid conference called yesterday to discuss the blueprint for 3G (third generation) mobile spectrum auction, while domestic players were riddled with doubts regarding regulation and availability of airwaves.

All existing domestic players - Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and new licensees like Unitech Wireless, Shyam Sistema, STel, Etisalat DB were present, but there was no certainty about their participation in the auctioning process.

Leading players - Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar - have sought clarity on policy matters, including about the impact of the pending TRAI recommendations on 3G spectrum auction and chances of increase in number of slots for auction in circles if defence ministry releases spectrum.

source :: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/telecom/Stalemate-on-3G-spectrum-continues-FM-meets-Raja-Antony/articleshow/5239905.cms

I'm little bit disappointed on the happenings. :(:(:(

Why Raja, Pranab Mukerjee and Sam Pitroda didn't participate in the pre-bid conference although all of them were in Delhi?

Atleast they should have participated in Q&A session.

Don't they feel the importance of this activity in relation to their ministries?

Do they think that they are too superior to face representatives of the industry?

If you're so reluctant to hear advice from the stakeholders concerned, how can you advice your secretaries? :confuse::confuse::confuse:

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Cabinet discusses auction, vacation of 3G spectrum

Cabinet chaired by PM attended by Ministers of Finance,Home,Information & Broadcasting, Telecom & Law.

Hope. We can only hope some light will be there at the end of the tunnel.

Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) The government Thursday discussed the issue of allocation of third generation (3G) spectrum as well vacation of airwaves by the defence ministry for commercial use, but declined to divulge details.

“The cabinet discussed the issue but I am not authorised to give any details,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after a cabinet meeting under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had angrily refused to answer a question from the media about the outcome of a meeting of the Group of Ministers on the spectrum allocation issue.

“Why should I tell the media?” Mukherjee burst out when asked what decision has been taken at the meeting held at the finance minister’s chamber in Parliament House.

Besides Mukherjee and Soni, the meeting was attended by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Law Minister Veerappa Moily, and Communication and Information Technology Minister A. Raja.

Following the finance minister’s outburst, an apprehensive-looking Raja tried to calm him by assuring: “I have not invited the media.”

The issue of the exact radio frequency to be released by the armed forces and the timing of the vacation has long been an issue of contention between the defence and the communications ministries.

Earlier this month, the finance minister said he hoped the two ministries would reach a consensus on vacation of third generation (3G) spectrum by the armed forces.

“I do hope the decision will be taken as per the letter and spirit of the memorandum of understanding,” Mukherjee said at the annual Economic Editors’ Conference here Nov 3 when asked about the delay in spectrum vacation.

The finance minister was referring to the agreement signed in May between the defence ministry and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) outlining the roadmap for the vacation of radio waves or spectrum.

As for the much delayed 3G spectrum auction, the DoT last month announced it would be conducted in four stages — invitation of the bid, pre-qualification, auction, and finally the grant of spectrum.

The auction was initially scheduled for December, but may have to be postponed.

source :: http://www.sindhtoday.net/news/1/73310.htm

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As expected,

3G auction may be delayed again

NEW DELHI: The auction of third generation spectrum (3G), vital for high-end services such as ultra-fast internet on mobile, which is slated to

begin on January 14, is likely to be deferred by a ‘few weeks’, as the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the defence ministry will require more time to coordinate and assign the airwaves vacated by the armed forces, ET has learnt.

While the armed forces have agreed to vacate 25 MHz of 3G spectrum for the auctions by December 7, officials in the know said it could take ‘several weeks’ for both ministries to work out the specific frequencies or sub-bands of these airwaves, which can be assigned to telcos.

This could push the auction process to mid-February ‘09, an official with direct knowledge of the developments said, while adding: “The focus is to ensure that the auctions are held before the end of this fiscal. The DoT will meet the finance ministry’s target and ensure that the proceeds from the sale of airwaves are included in the government receipts for this year.”

The DoT is also considering an industry demand that the 3G auctions take place only after sector regulator TRAI issues its recommendations on a slew of policy related issues.

These include the methodology to be adopted for allotting 2G spectrum, if future telecom licences are to be delinked from spectrum and also whether new entrants who successfully bag third generation airwaves will be given 2G airwaves on a priority basis.

With TRAI set to come out its recommendations only by December-end or early-January, this factor, too, could extend the auction dateline. Besides, TRAI is also examining a proposal by a DoT committee, which had said all future 2G allocations should be on an auction basis, where the base price for this sale is linked to final price that 3G auctions fetch.

TRAI’s views on this issue is vital, as it will have a bearing on the 3G auctions. Meanwhile, after reaching an agreement with the defence forces to vacate 3G airwaves, DoT is now set to waive off all spectrum usage charges it has imposed on the armed forces. Both ministries are slated to meet soon to work out the fine print on the waiver, an official aware of the development said.

“In addition to an assurance from DoT that it would compete the alternate network fibre cable for the armed forces by December 2012, the waiver of spectrum usage charges and also a commitment from the communications ministry to set up an defence spectrum band, were the other factors that enabled both ministries to end the standoff over the vacation of the airwaves,” this official added.

A defence spectrum band involves classifying all airwaves 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.

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.

source :: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/telecom/3G-auction-may-be-delayed-again/articleshow/5265630.cms

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Some good news after a long time.

Pitroda resolves spectrum row; The defence forces to vacate the spectrum on December 7

Auctions for the third generation (3G) spectrum will be held for all four vacant slots across the country when the government kick-starts the process from January 14. This comes following the resolution of a squabble between the telecom and defence ministries over 25 MHz spectrum that was mediated by the Prime Ministers advisor on infrastructure, Sam Pitroda. The defence forces will vacate the spectrum on December 7.

Sources said Pitroda convinced the defence forces to release the spectrum by committing that its alternate optic-fibre network would be fast-tracked.

The defence forces had dragged their feet as they apprehended the network would be delayed for lack of funds. However, the telecom commissionthe apex policymaking body of the department of telecommunications (DoT)on Monday approved the Rs 8,000-crore optic-fibre project, which the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is scheduled to take up early next month.

Resolution of the issue is significant, as a shortage of spectrum would have hampered the entire 3G auction process and allocation of spectrum, especially in circles like Delhi. The plan is to have five operators in each circle for 3G services, with one reserved for state-owned BSNL or MTNL.

Pitroda essentially split the entire issue into two partsshort term and long term--and set milestones. He made it very clear that the Prime Ministers Office wanted the auctions to be held on time and for this, defence must vacate spectrum and will be duly and timely compensated, an official privy to the process told FE.

The short-term goal is to ensure that spectrum is vacated, that the optic-fibre network is put on track and that auctions are held on time. Long-term issues relating to the creation of a dedicated spectrum band for defence is likely to be discussed in January.

As reported earlier by FE, the government roped in Pitroda to help ensure that 3G auctions were held on schedule by expeditiously resolving the long-drawn spectrum vacation issue between DoT and the defence ministry.

This was done after communications & IT minister A Raja had expressed apprehension that the auctions could be delayed as a result of the spectrum shortfall

source :: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pitroda-resolves-spectrum-row-3g-auctions-are-back-on-track/546229/1

Edited by kesav

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3G spectrums will be vacated by the Defence and will be available for auction as Ministry has decided for an independent OFC network costing Rs. 10,000. The project will be undertaken by BSNL where Huawei or ZTE will not be allowed for security reasons. The news goes as under:

Cabinet clears Rs 10k-cr optic fibre network for defence

THE Union Cabinet, in a late night meet on Thursday, approved a Rs 10,000-crore project to build an alternate optic fibre cable (OFC) network for the defence paving the way for 3G auction to be held early next year. The country’s armed forces, which currently occupy a bulk of the 3G airwaves, will move their communication requirements to this network that will be built by BSNL, thus freeing up airwaves for commercial telephony.

The armed forces, which had vacated 10 MHz or two slots of 3G spectrum to be used for commercial telephony, had agreed to free an equivalent amount of airwaves till June-July 2010 provided the Department of Telecom got Cabinet approval for the alternate (OFC) network by December 3.

State-owned BSNL will put out the tender for the Rs 10,000-crore project on its website on December 7 and expressions of interest will have to be made by January 15.

ET has also learnt that Chinese equipment majors such as Huawei and ZTE will not be allowed to participate in this project due to security concerns. Besides, other bidders also cannot source equipment manufactured in China. Even equipment imported from the West will have to pass stringent security tests in the government-controlled test bed for every product before the same can be installed in the alternate communication network project.

In the first of its kind in India, all successful bidders will have to transfer technology, manufacture all key components in collaboration with domestic firms and also part with their IPR rights due to the security implications of the project. Given the scale of the project, it is unlikely to go to a single vendor and multiple vendors could comprise a combination of private and public entities. According to sources, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Tech Mahindra and state-owned outfits like CDAC, ECIL and BEL along with telecom equipment majors such as Motorola, Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks are likely to be among the bidders. Economic Times

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