The Empowered Group of Ministers on spectrum, headed by Finance P Chidambaram, is likely to meet next week to discuss details of spectrum auction. Government sources said the meeting is proposed to be held in the second half of next week.
The EGoM, they said, will discuss the auction plan prepared by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) after Cabinet approved sale of unsold GSM spectrum in 1800 Mhz band and airwaves in the premium 900 Mhz spectrum band .
The government is learnt to be preparing fresh plans to auction telecom spectrum that can fetch around Rs 39,895 crore. As per the proposed plan, the government may get around Rs 25,316 crore from auction of spectrum in premium 900 Mhz GSM band and Rs 14,579 crore from auction of unsold spectrum in 1800 Mhz band.
The DoT may sell more airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan compared to the quantum of spectrum it had earlier put for bids in the auction that ended November 14.
"Spectrum held by existing operators whose licences are coming up for renewal is also being put for auction," official sources said. The DoT may put 15 Megahertz of spectrum in 1800 Mhz band (used for 2G GSM services) amounting to 12 blocks in Delhi and Mumbai for auction at reserve price of Rs 485.15 crore and Rs 474.92 crore per block, respectively, they said.
The government in the previous auction had put only 10 Mhz for auction divided in 8 blocks of 1.25 Mhz each for Rs 693.06 crore in Delhi and Rs 678.45 crore in Mumbai which attracted no bidders. In Rajasthan and Karnataka, it will auction same quantity of 11 blocks spectrum at reserve price of Rs 46.96 crore and Rs 231.08 crore, respectively.
For the premium 900 Mhz band, which provides double coverage of the signals compared to signals in 1800 Mhz band, the government is learnt to have fixed minimum price of Rs 970.30 crore per block for Delhi, Rs 949.84 crore per block for Mumbai and Rs 227.44 crore per block for Kolkata circle.
The government may auction 15 Mhz of spectrum in 900 Mhz band in Delhi and Mumbai circle and 12.5 Mhz airwaves in Kolkata. As per the draft proposal, new players may be required to bid for minimum of 4 blocks in both 1800 Mhz and 900 Mhz band in Delhi and Mumbai, sources said. New entrants may have to bid for 4 blocks in Rajasthan and Karnataka where 1800 Mhz band will be put for auction, they added.
However, for auction of 900 Mhz in Kolkata, new players may be required to bid for minimum of one block only, sources said. Existing players will be allowed to bid for airwaves but it will subject to new rule of spectrum capping. The DoT may also cap the amount of spectrum that companies can hold in a telecom service area which will impact number of blocks for which each player, specially existing operators, can bid.
"The existing operator can bid for a maximum of the full blocks available minus current holding, subject to the capping rule," sources said. The DoT may propose overall spectrum cap for each operator in Delhi at 36.99 Mhz, Mumbai 39.18 Mhz, Kolkata 33.5 Mhz, Karnataka 38.1 Mhz and Rajasthan at 34.7 Mhz. For 900 Mhz band, cap may be 10.6 Mhz each in Delhi and
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