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DOT plans major spectrum auction early next year

The Indian government is planning another major spectrum auction early next year, placing 2G, 3G and 4G frequencies on the block.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has written to telecom regulator Trai seeking reserve prices for spectrum in the 700-MHz, 800-MHz, 900-MHz, 1,800-MHz, 2,100-MHz, 2,300-MHz and 2,500-MHz bands, the Economic Times reported.

If the government does elect to auction 700-MHz spectrum, it will be the first time the highly-prized band has been made available in an auction for Indian operators.

Because of this and the sheer size of the proposed auction, the process may even exceed the record $17.6 billion raised during a hotly-competitive auction in March.

Some of the spectrum to be auction will be freed with the expiry of telecom licenses in 2017, but the department also plans to make new spectrum in these bands available, and aims to complete a spectrum harmonization process to help make the airwaves more attractive.

Under the new liberalized spectrum rules, the frequencies may be used for 2G, 3G or 4G services, which is likely to enhance competition during the auction.

But analysts have warned that the auction needs sensible reserve prices to avoid damaging hyper-competition, and have recommended that the spectrum be sold during separate auctions instead of all at once.

Source: Telecom Asia

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