India Secures Delay in 2G Radio Spectrum Auction
India's Supreme Court has agreed to a delay in the re-sale of the cancelled GSM licenses, giving the government until next January to complete the sale. The court had earlier ruled that the sale had to be completed by the 7th September.
The ruling also casts a lifeline to the mobile networks whose licenses had been cancelled, as they can continue operating until the 18th January 2013 - instead of shutting down next month.
The government now says that it expects to proceed with the radio spectrum auction starting on the 12th November, although there is still doubt about how many companies will bid due to complaints about the high reserve fee being set.
In its latest memorandum on the auction, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said it will issue a notice inviting applications for the auction on the 28th September, with applications closing on the 19th October.
The list of bidders will be announced on the 6th November, followed by mock-auctions for the 1800Mhz spectrum and then the live auction on the 12th November. The 800Mhz spectrum auction will start the day after the 1800Mhz auction closes.
The government will auction a minimum of eight blocks each of 1.25 MHz (10 MHz) in all 22 telecom circles, with a further three blocks of spectrum reserved for new entrants where necessary. That would enable a new entrant to bid for one block in the competitive auction, and then be allocated the three remaining blocks necessary to be able to operate its network.
Existing networks will be allowed to bid for no more than two blocks of additional 1800Mhz spectrum and just one block of 800Mhz spectrum.
The reserve price has been set at Rs 13,999.96 crore for 5 Mhz of pan-India spectrum in 1,800 Mhz band and Rs 13,649.97 crore for 3.75 Mhz of 800 Mhz spectrum.
The Information Memorandum can be downloaded from here.