India’s 2G auction to start in November

An auction of 2G spectrum in India is set to begin on November 12, according to a statement from the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoI).

Airwaves in the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands are to go up for sale after their previous owners were stripped off the assets earlier this year.

Authorities had revoked licenses held by companies including Telenor (Oslo, Norway) and Sistema (Moscow, Russia) after upholding claims of corruption during the auction process of 2008.

Many licenses were awarded to companies for just a fraction of their true value, authorities said.

An auction of 2G spectrum in India is set to begin on November 12, according to a statement from the country’s Department of Telecommunications (DoI).

Airwaves in the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands are to go up for sale after their previous owners were stripped off the assets earlier this year.

Authorities had revoked licenses held by companies including Telenor (Oslo, Norway) and Sistema (Moscow, Russia) after upholding claims of corruption during the auction process of 2008.

Many licenses were awarded to companies for just a fraction of their true value, authorities said.

Companies wanting to bid for spectrum in the forthcoming auction will have to submit bids by October 19. The DoI will decide which bidders have qualified to participate in the auction by November 6.

The auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz band is due to start on November 12, with 800MHz spectrum going under the hammer two days later.

Successful bidders will be required to make payments within ten days of the close of the respective auctions.

The DoI has already set the starting price for a slot of 5MHz spectrum covering all of India’s 22 telecoms service areas at 140 billion rupees ($2.5 billion).

Companies whose licenses were revoked have been allowed to continue operating until January 18 next year, while India’s Supreme Court has asked the government to complete the 2G auction by January 11.

Operators that lost their licenses earlier this year may try to win back the concessions during the new auction.

According to a story in India’s Economic Times, however, the District Court of Gurgaon has barred Telenor from bidding in the auction unless it does so through Uninor, its joint venture with Unitech (Gurgaon, India).

Telenor is appealing the decision at the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Earlier in August, India had invited bids for its stake in Uninor, hoping to quit the venture and participate in the forthcoming 2G auction independently, but India’s Company Law Board blocked the move after a challenge by Unitech.