The already delayed 3G spectrum auction stands to be effectively delayed further as the DoT now says that it is facing spectrum crunch in 9 of the 22 circles in the country.
DoT says the defence forces are yet to vacate spectrum for commercial use in Delhi, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh East and Uttar Pradesh West, Himachal Pradesh, North East and West Bengal.
A DoT report to defence forces mentions that 30 MHz spectrum is required to accommodate 6 operators which is not available in 9 circles. In Rajashtan, the DoT says there is no spectrum at all. In Delhi, DoT cites that there is only about 15 MHz spectrum.
The timing of the revelation sparks doubt as the DoT should have made this fact clear while announcing policies for 3G services or the series of announcements over entry of 3G services in the country. Nowhere it was known that there is spectrum crunch in 9 circles. Only Mumbai and Delhi were reported to have spectrum crunch.
Also such a announcement at this hour may create apprehensions in minds of foreign investors looking to participate in the 3G auctioning. The DoT should have resolved the issue simultaneously while formulating the 3G auctioning process.
DoT says that the spectrum will be available soon as it has reached a MoU with the defence forces. Only time will tell if this really works out.