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DoT to speed up process to meet new 2G auction deadline

Delhi,Business/Economy, Wed, 25 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The government Tuesday said that conducting the 2G auction within the revised deadline of Aug 31 set by the Supreme Court was a difficult task but it would speed up the process for this.


"It is a difficult task but we are trying our best to speed up the procedure as much as possible," R. Chandrashekhar, secretary, Department of Communications (DoT) told IANS.


The Supreme Court earlier in the day refused the government's plea to extend the auction deadline by 400 days. It gave the government only three more months time till Aug 31 to fulfil all requirements and auction the 122 2G licenses which were cancelled.


The apex court Feb 2, 2012 had ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences issued by former telecom minister A. Raja on and after Jan 10, 2008 and said the vacated spectrums be auctioned by June 2.


Asked about the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations unveiled Monday, Chandrashekhar said the DoT was looking into the recommendations and would send back these to the regulator for a final view on May 2.


And then the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will take the final call on auction of spectrum and telecom licence-related issues, he added.


About TRAI hiking the reserve price for the 2G spectrum auction, Chandrashekhar said the revised price was for an efficient, libralised spectrum which can be used for multiple services.


"The reserve price hike proposed by TRAI cannot be compared the 2008 price. This is a liberalised spectrum which means that it can use any technology possible over the next 20 years. This will hugely enhance the efficiency of an operator."


He also said there had been a moderation in the spectrum usage charges. It had been brought down to flat 1 percent against the current level of 3 to 8 percent.


Talking about the payment schedule, Chandrashekhar said unlike 3G where the entire payment was to be done in a lumpsome, here the operators will have to pay only a 33 percent cost upfront and the rest can be paid in instalments which will not lead to any liquidity problem.



He ruled out any significant tariff hike in the near future saying that "it may translate into a few percentage point, but I do not see any significant impact happening."


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