Setting the ball rolling for 3G mobile telephony, Telecom and IT Minister A Raja today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed the agenda for launching the much-awaited services and auction of spectrum.
Official sources said that Raja met Singh in the morning and briefed him about the ongoing issues, including roll-out of 3G and wireless broadband (Wimax) services.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has to decide on the reserve price for spectrum as it had differences with Finance Ministry. The matter may be taken directly to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) or will be referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM).
DoT had proposed a reserve price of Rs 2,020 crore for an all-India spectrum of five MHz, while the Finance Ministry had pegged it at around Rs 4,040 crore.
Asked whether the reserve price of spectrum came up for discussion between Raja and Singh, sources said the minister mentioned about the number of players to be considered for 3G in the first round of auction of spectrum and its pricing.
Raja had earlier told PTI that he would like to start the process of auctioning of spectrum within three months and roll out the services by the end of this calendar year.
3G allows users access to high-speed data and voice services. State-run BSNL and MTNL are the only two operators to offer this next generation service in the country, while private players are awaiting spectrum to be apportioned.