The government on Monday constituted a Group of Ministers to look into pricing and auctioning of spectrum for 3G telephony that will revolutionise the way data is received and transferred on mobile phones.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will head the GoM that will include as members Union Ministers P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar and A Raja, official sources said.
Deciding the number of operators in each telecom circle, the reserve price for 3G and broadband wireless services (Wi Max) and the fee to be paid by mobile operators to the auctioner are among the key terms of reference of the GoM.
The government had last month decided to auction 3G spectrum at a reserve price of Rs 4,040 crore to at least six private operators besides state-owned MTNL and BSNL.
Raja had then maintained that no final decision had been taken and it would be either the Group of Ministers or the Cabinet that would take a call on the spectrum reserve price.
Initially, six private operators, apart from state-owned MTNL and BSNL, are expected to be allowed to offer 3G services that enable high-speed internet, videos and many other value-added services on the mobile phone by the end of the year.