The government on Thursday approached the Supreme Court expressing its inability to complete the auction process of 2G spectrum within four months as directed by the apex court while cancelling the all the 122 spectrum licences allotted in 2008 during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja.
Seeking more time to complete the process in a clarification petition filed on Thursday the telecom department said that the process will take at least 400 days or more.
Assuring the Supreme Court that it is taking every possible and practicable steps to expedite the auction to be held in accordance with the judgement of the Supreme Court, government said that the planning and execution of the 2G spectrum auction would be a far more complicated task because while the 3G spectrum auction was a green field exercise starting with a clean slate and no incumbents offering 3G services, the 2G auction will have to deal with both legacy issues as well as issues arising out of policy decision.
"As the licences/spectrum can be issued only in and around March 2013 and the licenses stand quashed with effect from June 2, 2012, there will be an inevitable disruption in services for the subscribers of those licence holders whose licenses stand quashed by virtue of the judgement of this court. It is respectfully stated that the total number of subscribers indirectly affected by the judgement of this court is over 69 million, representing almost 7.5 per cent of the total mobile subscribers in India," the government said.
"It is pertinent to point out that the Centre has attempted to draw up as expeditious a time line as is possible keeping in view the judgement of the Court. The estimated time for conduct of this auction is significantly lower than the 1560 days taken to conduct the 3G auction," it said.
"It is respectfully stated that this court in its judgement did not set any specific time line to the auction process as such time line may have undermined the auction process or resulted in auction failing to result in an optimal price discovery," it further said.