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Posted on Feb 26, 07:54PM | IBNS
New Delhi, Feb 26 : The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday confirmed that the auction of 800 Mhz spectrum will commence on March 11.
"Auction of 1800, 900 & 800 MHz spectrum was scheduled to begin on March 11, 2013. The last date for receipt of applications was 25.2.2013. At the time of close on the last date for receipt of applications i.e., 25.2.2013, one applicant, namely, SSTL registered for the auction of 800 MHz spectrum and no applicants registered for the auction of 1800 & 900 MHz spectrum," said an official release.
1800 & 900 MHz bands were to be auctioned simultaneously starting from March 11 and the 800 MHz band auction was to commence two days after the conclusion of the auction of 1800 & 900 MHz spectrum.
"In the light of these developments, the auction of 800 MHz spectrum will commence on 11.3.2013 itself. Next steps in respect of the 1800 and 900 MHz spectrum will be decided shortly after placing the developments and issues arising there from before the EGOM on auction of spectrum," the DoT said.
"A third auction (after the 1st auction in November, 2012 and the second auction due to commence on March 11, 2013) was already announced by the DOT on 20.2.2013 consequent to the SC directions dated 15.2.2013," it said.
This third auction was to cover only the 1800 MHz band to comply with the Supreme Court directive to put the entire spectrum surrendered (which was entirely either in the 1800 or 800 MHz bands) by holders of quashed licenses to auction immediately.
"This would, in any case, have necessitated auction in 20 of the 22 circles wherein the quantum of spectrum put to auction was less than what the SC had directed on 15.2.2013 after the issue of the NIA for the March, 2013 auction.
"In Delhi and Mumbai circles, the quantum of spectrum put to auction in March, 2013 was already in accordance with the latest orders of the SC dated 15.2.2013. This was also the case in respect of spectrum in the 800 MHz band both in the November, 2012 auction and again in the March, 2013 auction," said the DoT.
In the light of these developments, DoT said it will review the need to include the remaining 2 circles for 1800 MHz bands, namely Delhi and Mumbai in the next round of auctions as also the need for a re-auction in the 3 metro circles of the 900 MHz band.
"The quantum of spectrum, the reserve price and the timelines for this auction will be decided after necessary directions are obtained from the EGOM and where required, the cabinet, in this regard," it said.
"DoT is also in the process of filing an affidavit of compliance in the SC regarding implementation of its orders dated 15.2.2013. Any further directions issued by the SC in the matter will be incorporated into the plan of action for the next round of auction to be held as soon as possible after the March 11, 2013 auction is completed."
"Separately, the DoT will also take action as directed by the Delhi HC to dispose of the applications for extension of licenses received from licensees whose licenses are due to expire in Nov 2014. This action will be completed before the timeline fixed by the High Court of Delhi, i.e., 7th March, 2013," it said.