2G spectrum issue may be referred to EGoM


Prime VIP
New Delhi, June 25

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may refer the issue of 2G spectrum allotment to the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), which had handled the sensitive 3G spectrum issue also.

The EGoM may come into picture following views expressed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) following divergent views expressed by various stakeholders over TRAI's spectrum proposals and an overall resistance to them.

The PMO has asked the DoT to consider referring the issue to the inter-ministerial panel handling 3G spectrum pricing.

The EGoM was constituted to resolve the battle between the DoT and the Defence Ministry on vacation of 3G spectrum for auction and its pricing. The panel was headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The PMO has written to the DoT to take a decision in this regard so that there were more deliberations on the matter.

It said, “Against this background, the DoT is advised to consider widening the mandate of the Empowered Group of Ministers to also include taking a view on the TRAI recommendations".

The advice comes even as the DoT has set up an internal panel for examining the proposals.

The PMO fears that strong and divergent views of the stakeholders over TRAI's Spectrum Management and Licencing proposals could lead to 'potential' controversies.

On May 11, TRAI had proposed that operators holding spectrum beyond 6.2 Mhz make an additional one-time payment for it. At present, operators get additional spectrum based on subscriber base.

The pricing for 2G spectrum, as per the regulator, should be linked to 3G pricing. This antagonised GSM players who mostly hold over 6.2 Mhz of spectrum in many of the circles. TRAI also lowered the overall spectrum cap to 10 Mhz from the current 15 Mhz.