3G Updates: DoT may double base price, CDMA Auction limited

Another day, another 3G delay story!

Couple of days back, finance ministry asked DoT to double the 3G reserve price and now, DoT under pressure to charge market price, might just agree with finance ministry.

The final decision will be taken by Cabinet (on Jan 8th) after other ministries share their concern with DoT on the auction – so expect major delays.

The telecom players are not pleased with this to-and-fro, especially the lead BSNL and MTNL have got over the private players.

As it is the two operators are getting a 6-month lead over the private players and any further delay will give them an unfair advantage. The Government should not postpone the 3G auctions. All existing GSM operators are keen to participate in it. [COAI]

Equipment vendors are offering flexible payment terms to operators in order to ease out the 3G rolling process – the biggest bottleneck being the govt.

Even if the auction is delayed by a few days, it can significantly derail the entire process, owing to general elections and code of conduct issue.

CDMA-based 3G services limited to existing players

Unlike GSM services where DoT is accepting applications from new and foreign players, CDMA 3G auction will be limited to Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Shyam Sistema.

Keeping out the possibility of any new player to bid for the spectrum, DoT has asked the three existing CDMA players to suggest a formula on how the available spectrum for 3G mobile services should be allocated between them.

The move to limit the allocation to existing players may have been taken since the Government has enough spectrum in the 800 Mhz band to accommodate only two CDMA players. – source

Expect some lobbying and clash between operators/DoT/Govt. – and of course, delays in roll out of 3G services.

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