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Telecom Panel Returns TRAI Recommendations on 3G Prices, Suggests Re-look

In view of the sky-high 2G, 3G prices which have roped in scamsters and sent one previous Telecom minister to jail, the current government is going cautious over the 3G spectrum auction.

The Union Minister for Communications, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing at the release of the postal stamp on “Liver Transplant”, in New Delhi on November 04, 2014. (PIB Photo)

The Union Minister for Communications, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad addressing at the release of the postal stamp on “Liver Transplant”, in New Delhi on November 04, 2014. (PIB Photo)

As part of the exercise, the Telecom Commission on Wednesday decided to send back the regulator TRAI’s 3G or 2100 mega hertz (MHz) spectrum sky-high price recommendations for a relook, according to sources.

The telecom regulator – Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – had Dec 31, 2014, recommended a base price of Rs.2,720 crore per mega hertz (MHz) for pan-India 2,100 MHz or 3G spectrum, which is 22 percent lower than the previous auction.

“Furthermore, the 15 MHz of spectrum in the 2,100 MHz spectrum being vacated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), in lieu of spectrum in the 1,900 MHz spectrum, should be auctioned in view of the in-principle agreement reached with the MoD, even if it is not available immediately,” the TRAI had said.

This can be done as “actual assignments do not have to be made immediately”, it said. The actual date of assignment may be given in the notice inviting application.

The government in 2010 had auctioned 3G spectrum at pan-India reserve price of Rs.3,500 crore per MHz. The regulator has recommended that the department of telecommunications (DoT) should take all measures to ensure that the 2,100 MHz spectrum which was earlier assigned to S Tel Pvt Ltd in three service areas — Bihar, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh — is also put to auction.

Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier said the government intends to auction 3G airwaves along with 2G, in February 2015.(IANS)

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