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Tenders for mobiles in villages

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has finalised the draft document for inviting expressions of interest and is expected to appoint financial consultant for floating a tender for cellular mobile services in rural areas by the end of April.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 02:02 IST

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has finalised the draft document for inviting expressions of interest and is expected to appoint financial consultant for floating a tender for cellular mobile services in rural areas by the end of April.

Even as the DoT has drafted salient features of the model proposed for infrastructure support for cellular mobile services in rural areas and CDoT has been appointed as the technical consultant for the roll-out, the process is likely to take a hit due to insufficient funds.

The requirement of funds for the financial year 2006-07 for the committed activities will be about Rs 1,858 crore with additional liability of Rs 800 crore. The projection for the proposed infrastructure activity alone is in the order of Rs 1,600 crore for 2006-07. So far, Rs 1,500 crore have been provided for 2006-07 under the provisions of the budget, leaving a shortfall given that USO Fund is expected to generate only Rs 6,992 crore for 2005-06.

The model, proposed by the USO Fund Administrator, will later be finetuned, including inputs from financial and technical consultants. Presently, it has proposed a subsidy support for shareable and non-sharable components. Under the proposed model, the successful bidders will have to install at least 30 per cent, 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the towers within a stipulated timeframe of four, eight and 12 months respectively.

The bids for the services will be invited district-wise. The benchmark for the sharable components will comprise an upfront subsidy and an equated annual subsidy for five years. The benchmark for the non-sharable components will comprise upfront payment only.

Even though providing subsidy support to cellular mobile services will require amendment in the Indian Telegraph Act, the DoT is of the view that preparation for the implementation of the scheme need not wait till the amendment.

First Published: Apr 24, 2006 02:02 IST