India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has confirmed that it will auction 3G spectrum in the 2100MHz band, and that foreign companies will be entitled to take part as long as they receive security clearance. ‘The government has decided to release 3G spectrum for broadband wireless access. Auction has been decided for 3G spectrum,’ Andimuthu Raja, the telecoms minister, said. Winners will be required to pay 0.5% of total adjusted gross revenue to the state on an annual basis for the first three years of operation, rising to 1% thereafter. Firms will not be permitted to trade or resell the spectrum, and they will not be allowed to merge in the first five years after the grant. About 30MHZ of spectrum will be sold in total, with no fewer than three firms being awarded spectrum. India will also auction licences for broadband wireless (WiMAX) services, with the reserve price fixed at 25% of the amount for 3G spectrum, the statement said.
In a separate announcement the Indian government said plans to begin mobile number portability (MNP) were taking shape, with the service expected to be launched in the four cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai by the fourth quarter of 2008.