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Spectrum auction postponed to June 6

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In Short:

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has postponed the spectrum auction to June 6 due to the general elections, with the mock auction now scheduled for June 3. The DoT has made changes to the notice inviting application and clarified various queries from telecom operators. There will be no bank guarantee required for spectrum assignment. Despite objections from telcos, the DoT has maintained its stand on certain issues.

DoT defers spectrum auction to June 6 due to general elections

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has postponed the spectrum auction by 17 days, with the new date now set for June 6. Originally scheduled to start on May 20, the decision to delay the sale was made in light of the ongoing general elections.

Reason for the postponement

Telecom operators had requested the DoT to defer the auction until after the completion of the polls, which are set to begin on April 19 and conclude with the results on June 4. As a result, the notice inviting application (NIA) has been amended to reflect the revised auction date.

Changes in auction timeline

The mock auction, previously planned for May 13-14, will now take place on June 3. However, the rest of the auction timetable remains unchanged.

Additional clarity provided by DoT

DoT will be introducing an auction catalogue for the live auction, allowing bidders to view their eligibility points, net worth, earnest money deposit (EMD), existing spectrum holdings, and details of the LSA-bands up for auction. The DoT has clarified that bank guarantee and performance bank guarantee will not be required for spectrum assignment.

Furthermore, the DoT specified that provisional spectrum assigned for a period of 3 months will not be counted towards telcos’ spectrum caps calculations.

DoT stands firm on certain issues

Despite objections from telecom firms, DoT has maintained its stance on certain matters such as under-utilisation of assigned spectrum. Telcos had requested relief in the form of reduced payouts or extended validity, but the suggestions were not entertained by DoT.

Telecom operators urged DoT to provide detailed guidelines well ahead of the submission deadline to enable them to adjust their bidding strategies accordingly.

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