August deadline ‘not possible’ for 2G auction

6 Jul 2012

Delays in finalising plans for the upcoming 2G spectrum sale mean that it will not be possible to meet the 31 August deadline set by the Supreme Court for the reauction of the cancelled licences, according to the inter-ministerial group (IMG) set up under the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct the tender process. The Business Standard reports that the IMG will bring the matter to the attention of the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), the government committee that will soon meet to resolve a number of issues with the spectrum tender, including the base price for spectrum. The IMG has suggested appealing to the apex court to remove the time constraints, though the Supreme Court has already extended the deadline once, and refused to accept the DoT’s 13-month timeframe for the sale process.

In related news, the DoT has sought clarification on the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal’s (TDSAT’s) recent split verdict regarding 3G roaming. As reported by CommsUpdate, the TDSAT was unable to reach a final decision on whether or not operators should be allowed to offer 3G services outside of their licence areas via roaming agreements with other cellcos. Of the two-member bench overseeing the case, one ruled in favour of the government and one in favour of the providers. The TDSAT said that the cellcos would be allowed to continue offering 3G roaming until a further ruling on the case. The DoT challenged the ruling, and is investigating whether or not the cellcos should discontinue these services in the interim.