The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred the auction determined fee for the airwaves existing mobile phone companies currently hold to Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM)) after it failed to arrive at any decision on Tuesday.
The decision to refer the matter to EGoM came after the finance ministry, Planning Commission and department of industrial policy and promotion ( DIPP) opposed the telecom ministry's proposal on spectrum pricing.
The three options that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is believed to have put forward were levy one time fee on all airwaves held by existing telecom companies; to impose a fee on airwaves held beyond the start-up spectrum of 4.4 MHz; or to levy a fee on airwaves held beyond the contracted spectrum of 6.2 MHz.
DoT wants existing telecom operators to pay one-time auction determined price for all spectrum they currently hold so as to create a level playing field between the new entrants and the incumbents.
The developments in the past two days have once again posed a serious question whether the process of auction of spectrum could be completed before the August 31 deadline. The head of the newly constituted EGoM on spectrum Sharad Pawar had quit on Monday citing the reason that attempts had been made in the past to unnecessarily drag him into the 2G spectrum scam.