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FM asks to double licence fee for 3G, may delay

New Delhi, Fri, 02 Jan 2009 NI Wire

The much awaited third generation (3G) spectrum auction may possibly get further delay as the Ministry of Finance asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) on Thursday to double the floor bidding prices of 3G spectrum and WiMax- a broadband wireless technology on mobile handset.

In the latest development the 3G spectrum auction processing that was earlier scheduled to be held on January 16 was further postponed by two weeks, rescheduling the date on January 30. The fresh demand of Finance Ministry can make further delay as any sort of changes in 3G spectrum auction guidelines will have to get Telecom Regulator Authority of India’s (TRAI’s) approval before tabling this proposal to CCEA.

According to official sources, the Finance Ministry has asked the Communications Ministry to hike the minimum bidding prices for 3G spectrum and broadband wireless access (BWA) technologies such as WiMax by 100% from Rs.2,020 crore to Rs.4,040 crore and from Rs.1,010 crore to Rs.2,020 crore respectively, analysing the possible loss in targeted revenue collection as the sources informed that government had observed the lacking of foreign players in the recently held pre-bid conference for new players.

The foreign players were finding proposal of 3G auctions as unattractive for themselves as sources said that it was made in the favour of existing players only. Thus, observing the paucity of foreign players who might play aggressive role in the auctioning, the fin min had suggested doubling the floor bidding process to meet its targeted revenue.

The 3G spectrums and WiMax technology will enable the mobile users to avail the enhanced mobile, internet and value added services like television on mobile handset, faster broadband wireless internet access services and many more, DoT had stated earlier.

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