The Department of Telecom has sought views of Defence and Finance ministries on the draft note on spectrum auction.
The auction is scheduled to take place from February 23 next year. Government expects to auction some amount of 3G spectrum along with radiowaves in three sets of bands — 800 Mhz (used by CDMA operators), along with 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz being used by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications for 2G services across the country. “The draft note on spectrum auction has been prepared by the Department and it has been sent to Finance and Defence Ministries for vetting,” a DoT official said.
Since there are some technicalities and issues related to the spectrum in 2100 MHz band, the DoT is taking views of the Defence Ministry before sending the note for the approval of the Cabinet, the official added. The process is expected to be concluded by next week (December 29, 2014 to January 3, 2015), the official said without giving any specific time-frame. The Defence Ministry has already agreed to vacate 5 Mhz in the 3G band, which is expected to be put up for auction in February.
Besides, the DoT has proposed that the Defence Ministry interchange 15 Mhz of spectrum in a frequency band with same quantum of 3G spectrum. The DoT and the Defence Ministry have been working on a plan to get some spectrum freed from the latter for commercial mobile services and the waiver is part of an MoU signed between the two in 2009. Government expects to raise at least Rs 9,355 crore from auctioning three sets of available spectrum. It also expects to raise additional Rs 5,000 crore from auction of 3G spectrum in the 2100 Mhz band, provided it is vacated by the Defence Ministry.