Press Trust of India

Auction route for spectrum will continue: Sources

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Say administrative allocation will be allowed only in limited cases

New Delhi: The government will continue to auction telecom spectrum, and the administrative allocation route will be used sparingly, only in those cases where it is technically not feasible to do so or for areas that are strategic in nature, sources said.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is gearing up to hold the next round of spectrum auction on June 6 for eight spectrum bands (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz) meant for mobile phone services at a base price of about Rs 96,317 crore.

The spectrum will be assigned for 20 years and successful bidders will be allowed to make payments in 20 equal annual instalments in the coming mega auction.

Sources asserted that the spectrum for mobile services will continue to be given through the auction process.

As enacted in the Telecom Act, 2023, only a very limited and narrowly defined cases, including spectrum for walkie-talkie for police organisations, radar for weather forecasting, radar and communication for ships, communication for space and satellite applications, communication and radar for the Army, Air Force and Navy and state-owned telecom corporation like BSNL, airwaves will be given on administrative basis, sources said.

Of the total allocations, these amount to a minuscule, just 5-7 per cent of the cases.

The government had on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking a modification of the 2012 order. The modification sought was to allow for administrative allocation in select cases where it is not technically feasible to use the auction route. However, for the majority of the spectrum, the auction will continue to be the mode of allocation.

The matter in the Supreme Court is basically an application filed (in the apex court) following the due process before introducing the Telecom Bill in parliament, sources clarified.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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