A high-power ministerial panel on Tuesday hammered out the broad contours for auctioning telecom spectrum, but left the final decision on the pricing issue for a later meeting scheduled after June 20.
“Some decisions have been taken. We will let you know,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal said after the meeting of the empowered group of ministers (EGoM).
The EGoM has also reportedly approved the plan that at least 10 megahertz of spectrum will be auctioned in eight slots.
The auction process — freed from cancellation of 2G licences by the Supreme Court — will begin on August 6.
The decision on pricing had to be delayed as the sector watchdog, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), did not make a presentation on the likely impact of its suggested pricing of spectrum on mobile phone tariffs as was expected earlier.
TRAI had recommended that the reserve auction prices for spectrum for 900 MHz be fixed at R7,244 crore, while that for 1,800 MHz be Rs 3,622 crore.
This triggered howls of protest from telecom firms, which claim that high reserve prices and the cost of acquiring spectrum will result in very high tariffs affecting the consumer.