DoT may give ground on 3G reserve price

12 Jun 2009

India’s Economic Times is claiming that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the finance ministry are closing in on reaching an agreement in the long-running saga related to the base price for much-delayed 3G auctions. It is understood that the regulator will hand proposals to the Union Cabinet to increase the reserve to INR34.5 billion (USD721 million), up from the original INR20.2 billion. Additionally, it is rumoured that the DoT will increase the number of 3G slots per circle from five to between seven and eight. The move comes as the cabinet prepares to consider 3G auction proposals within the next two weeks, and it is understood that the DoT’s decision to increase the reserve is a move to prevent any fresh objections from the finance ministry. The INR34.5 billion figure itself represents a compromise between the original level and that demanded by the finance ministry of INR40.4 billion. If the cabinet approves the regulator’s proposals it is expected that the auction for 3G spectrum could take place within three months.