The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) on spectrum headed by the union finance minister P Chidambaram decided on Tuesday that they would soon approach the Supreme Court to seek an extension of its August 31 deadline for auction of spectrum.
Sources said that the government will seek an extension of two-and-a-half months and the auction is likely to take place in the second week of November.On February 2, the Supreme Court ordered cancelling of 122 licences issued by the former Communications and IT minister A Raja saying that they were issued on first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis.
“We will approach the Supreme Court to place before them about what the government has done,” said the union communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal after the EGoM meeting. “Also, we’ll place before them that in terms of this schedule it is not possible to conduct the auction by August 31.”
The government has set a reserve price of R14,000 cr for auction of spectrum 5 Mhz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. The government has also finalised an auctioneer for the bidding.
On an important issue of whether all the operators will be required to pay for their existing spectrum at the new rates, the EGOM is waiting for the presidential reference.