EGoM sets ball rolling for spectrum sale

New Delhi: A ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today approved starting the process to auction spectrum which would be freed in the wake of Supreme Court cancelling 122 licenses. The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) gave the approval to the process for selecting an auctioneer who will conduct the fresh round of bidding for spectrum as mandated by the apex court.

“The EGoM has approved the initiation of the process for selection of auctioneer… We will begin the process immediately,” Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar told reporters after the panel meeting here. Bids will be invited for appointment of auctioneers and a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued within next few days, he said.

Former DoT officer JS Deepak, who had played a key role in carrying out 3G and BWA spectrum sale in 2010, has been roped in by the government to manage the Supreme Court-ordered spectrum auction. In February 2012, Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G telecom licences issued during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja, and asked government to complete spectrum auction by August 31.

The government had sought 400 days time from the apex court but the request was rejected. As per government`s plan, it was to start spectrum auction from December 20 and allocate spectrum in March 2013. Now, with just about 120 days left from the August 31 deadline, the government is under pressure to expedite the process for spectrum auction. By middle of this month, DoT is expected to send its final view to the EGoM, which will then take final call on spectrum auction.