Mobile phone spectrum auction to start on 3 February

The planned mobile phone spectrum auction will start on February 3, the government said on Saturday, delaying the bidding by 10 days from the original schedule.

The telecommunications ministry will auction airwaves in the 900 and 1800 megahertz frequency bands in the auction, which is crucial for leading carriers Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc’s local unit to renew their permits in some key cities.

Telecom Tower

The government did not give a reason for the delay in a revised auction schedule posted on the telecommunications ministry’s website, but it has yet to take a decision on a change recommended by the sector regulator in the annual fee carriers pay for using spectrum.

Carriers had urged the government to decide the annual spectrum fee before the start of the auction.

The government aims to raise about $1.8 billion (Rs 11,146 crore) from the auction. Prospective bidders will have to submit applications by Jan. 15 to participate in the auction, according to the new schedule.

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