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Department of Telecom Updates on Indian 3G License Plans

­India's Department of Telecom (DoT) has announced the availability of the radio spectrum that will be made available if and when the 3G licenses are finally auctioned. The document shows that the government could earn an additional Rs 21,480 crore if the frequencies are auctioned according to the finance ministry's formula.

According to the plan, just four operators could be offered radio spectrum in Delhi. As the two state controlled operators, BSNL and MTNL have already snapped up two licenses in each license zone (circle), this leave space for just two private firms to compete for the 3G licenses.

The key circles such as AP, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have space for 11 private players each. A minimum of six private operators can be given these airwaves in all circles except in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, North East, West Bengal and Rajasthan. The increase in number of possible competitors in each circle is due to an agreement by the Defence Ministry to vacate some of its own reserved radio spectrum.

The regulator and DoT are still in dispute over the plans and pricing for the 3G license auction though. The regulator wants to limit the available 3G licenses to no more than seven per circle, while the DoT wants all the available spectrum to be sold in one tranche. Equally, the DoT is proposing a reserve price of Rs 4,040 for pan-India 3G spectrum, which is double the amount proposed by the regulator.


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