Not just spectrum auction, other telecom reforms likely to be delayed

The DoT had planned several reforms, including curbing pesky calls and developing regulations for the Telecommunication Bill.
Not just spectrum auction, other 
telecom reforms likely to be delayed

NEW DELHI: After the postponement of the spectrum auction, other initiatives within the telecom ministry, such as rolling out regulations for the Telecommunication Act 2023 and implementing other telecom reforms, are likely to be delayed.

According to Department of Telecommunication (DoT) officials, the auction was deferred due to a lack of clarity within the government. Therefore, no decisions will be made on the auction until the situation becomes clearer. The DoT had planned several reforms, including curbing pesky calls and developing regulations for the Telecommunication Bill.

“We don’t want to conduct the spectrum auction until a new government is formed,” said an official. “Initially, we considered deferring the auction for 10 days, but with no clear timeframe for government formation, we’ve delayed it for 20 days. This delay will impact not only the spectrum auction but also other telecom-related work,” the official added.

The DoT has postponed the spectrum auction to June 25. This marks the second postponement, with the previous delay attributed to the election model code of conduct. The government plans to auction eight spectrum bands for cellular services at a base price of about R96,317 crore.

The available spectrum includes bands in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz ranges. Reliance Jio has deposited the highest earnest money of R3,000 crore for the spectrum auction, granting them the ability to bid for the maximum amount of radio waves.

Analyst reports suggest that Airtel may be the biggest spender in the 2024 spectrum auction with an estimated outlay of R10,400 crore. Details released by the DoT indicate that Bharti Airtel submitted an earnest money deposit (EMD) of R1,050 crore, while Vodafone Idea deposited R300 crore.

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