Sunday, April 14, 2013

Adopting auction route every time ‘doesn’t make sense’: Sibal

NEW DELHI, April 14, 2013 PTI

Adopting auction route every time for allocating spectrum "does not make sense", and the Cabinet will decide on the issue based on a DoT panel report that is expected soon, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said on Sunday.

"In every case should we be going for fresh auction? To us, it doesn't make sense, but these are issues that will be decided within the ministry and then we will go to the Cabinet for final decision," Mr. Sibal said.

A committee under the Department of Telecom (DoT) is looking into all the aspects of spectrum allocation, he said, adding that it is to submit the report in a month.

Mr. Sibal has also approved expansion of the committee to include representatives from the Department of Space and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The Minister said telecom operators were initially allocated 4.4 Mhz of spectrum along with licences to start services, but now companies winning spectrum through auction are being given 5 Mhz of airwaves.

It does not make sense to go for auction just allocating balance of 0.6 Mhz spectrum, he added.

".. where the time lapse between the auction and need for small amount of spectrum is less than 6 months or 8 months, should we be going for another auction for small amount? These are issues that have to be decided," Mr. Sibal said.

The DoT panel has been given the task to examine conditions which need to be satisfied to adopt auction as the preferred or the only mode of allocating spectrum.

It is also studying conditions for which administrative allotment of spectrum should be treated as a norm.

The last spectrum allocation through administrative process for mobile telephony was done in 2009. It was put on hold after Supreme Court judgement of February 2, 2012 which cancelled 122 2G telecom licences and asked government to allocate the spectrum through auction.
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