The Department of Telecom has postponed the next spectrum auction to February 3 from January 23 amid pending issues, including spectrum usage charges, and a demand from operators seeking more time.
The DoT also deferred the issue of clarifications to queries raised by potential bidders at the pre-bid conference held on December 20, which had been scheduled for today. Also Read - Telecom spectrum auctions begin today: Here's all you need to know
“The clarifications to the Notice Inviting Applications will now be issued on January 2. Industry has demanded more time to prepare for the auction. The auction will start from February 3,” a DoT official told PTI. Also Read - TRAI floats consultation paper on spectrum auction
There are issues related to spectrum usage charges, along with other matters that have been raised by potential bidders, another DoT official said.
The Telecom Commission, an inter-ministerial panel, is scheduled to meet on December 31 to discuss the matter of spectrum usage charges (SUC). Industry has demanded lowering of SUC as recommended by the TRAI, while a section of players have opposed it.
SUC is levied annually by the government as a percentage of revenue earned by mobile operators and varies from 3-8 per cent.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had recommended a uniform SUC of 3 per cent from April 1, with an upper limit of 5 per cent.
DoT also extended the last date for applying for the spectrum auction to January 15 from January 4.
About 403 megahertz of 2G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and about 45 MHz of spectrum in the premium 900 MHz band is being put up for auction.
The government is expecting a minimum of Rs 11,300 crore from the upcoming spectrum auction. It has set a revenue target of Rs 40,874.50 crore this fiscal year from spectrum, including auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee.