After raising the hopes of both subscribers as well as telecom companies, the government is understood to be in no special hurry for auctioning spectrum for 3G mobile services this calendar year.
Earlier, indications were that the radio waves would be auctioned by September this year.
According to sources close to the development, there is a feeling that the government may not get the revenue it is looking at if it bids out spectrum in the midst of a global recession - which means mobile users would have to wait a while before they can enjoy faster voice and data services.
The government has projected a revenue of Rs 35,000 crore in budget 2009-10 from the auction of spectrum and had last month decided to keep the reserve price at Rs 4,040 crore for radio waves for pan-India operations.
An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) chaired by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has been formed to look into issues relating to 3G spectrum auction and decide on the number of slots to be auctioned in the first phase.
Asked whether the Department of Telecom (DoT) has sought the first meeting of the EGoM, sources said the meeting is likely to take place soon but confirmed that auction of spectrum may happen only in January-February next year.
Going by the proposed reserve price of Rs 4,040 crore, the government is expecting to garner over Rs 32,300 crore -- assuming that all seven players, including BSNL/MTNL, opt for 3G mobile services across India.