Spectrum slot cap scrapped

New Delhi, Feb. 1 (PTI): A ministerial panel today removed cap on the number of slots that a company was allowed to bid in the upcoming spectrum auction, a development that is expected to attract aggressive bidding.

There is no cap other than a policy restriction of 25 per cent and 50 per cent of the spectrum, telecom minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here.

According to the notice inviting application (NIA) issued by the department of telecom (DoT), a company cannot bid for more than 25 per cent of the total spectrum on offer. Also, no firm can bid for more than 50 per cent of the spectrum being offered in a particular band.

In the last auction held in November, new operators were to bid for a minimum of four blocks of 1.25MHz each and a maximum of five for GSM spectrum. It was a minimum of two and a maximum of three in the case of CDMA airwaves.

The DoT was of the view that the auction would witness aggressive bidding if restrictions on the number of slots were removed.

"The whole agenda (of NIA) has been approved and we are now going ahead with the auction as proposed," Sibal said.

The government will put on auction unsold spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 800MHz bands.

The DoT has issued the guidelines for the auction process which is expected to fetch around Rs 45,000 crore to the exchequer from airwave sale.

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