3G Auction to be Delayed [Again?]

Great Indian 3G Auction has been the Great Indian Delay Story, and there are chances that 3G auction, which was scheduled for January 14th can be delayed by a ‘few weeks’, owing to operational differences between defense and DoT.

“..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.” – ET

DoT is also taking into consideration industry demand and might wait for TRAI to issue recommendations on policy regarding spectrum allocation etc – this could push the auction to mid-February.

While these are operational excuses, the real reason could be the fact that global telecom operators haven’t shown keen interest in 3G auction (the recent tariff war has caused a dent to India’s telecom story).

Moreover, the auction policy is not friendly to foreign operators (new 3G players will have to pay $410 million to obtain a licence to provide wireless and wireline services, they won’t get the start-up 2G spectrum that is required to provide traditional voice and data services) and government may not be able to raise the amount they have been planning for, if foreign operators do not participate in the auction.

So what’s your take on 3G auction delay?

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