Lack of spectrum to limit number of 3G licences up for grabs

8 Dec 2008

According to India’s Economic Times, a draft information memorandum by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has revealed that no more than four 3G licences are expected to be auctioned per telecoms circle. The revelation comes despite previously announced plans for between eight and ten concessions to be offered in each circle. In seven of the 22 circles less than four licences are now expected to be offered. The circles of Rajasthan and North East reportedly have no free spectrum, whilst West Bengal has enough space for a single licensee. Delhi and Gujarat are believed to hold enough spectrum for two licences each, and in UP (West) and Himachal Pradesh three licences will be awarded. The DoT has previously guaranteed state-owned operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) 3G spectrum in each of their circles; they will not participate in the auction process, instead matching the highest 3G bid.