DoT mulls increase in number of 3G licences

9 Jan 2009

India’s Economic Times is reporting that, in the latest of a long line of mooted changes, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering increasing the number of available winning lots in the upcoming 3G spectrum auctions. It had previously been agreed that each telecoms circle would allow five winning bidders, but now the regulator has announced it may increase that number to eight. If it is approved the change will not affect all calling circles due to a shortage of spectrum in some regions; only circles with more than 25MHz of spectrum available will allow more winning bidders. The move is believed to be under consideration as a means of generating increased revenues from the auction process, which the government had initially hoped would raise INR400 billion (USD8.05 billion). It is being considered as an alternative to another recent suggested change, which proposed the doubling of the auction’s base price. The proposal is expected to be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) within the next few days, and will likely be considered sometime next week.