According to new guidelines released by Department of Communications (DoT), the new entrants and companies who are set to lose the spectrum licences following the Supreme Court’s February 2 verdict will be allowed to bid for a maximum of 6.25 MHz of airwaves in 1800 MHz band in the upcoming auctions.
The new entrants can bid for 5 MHz of airwaves in the 1800 MHz band, but adds that they will be allowed to bid for one additional block of 1.25 MHz, enabling them to get a total of 6.25 MHz of airwaves.
Details about reserve price, terms of payment and annual spectrum usage charges would be announced after an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) decides on them.
The guidelines also say that simultaneous, multiple-round auctions for each region, on similar lines as the 3G spectrum auctions in 2010 will be held.
Airwaves will be sold in blocks of 1.25 MHz each. Existing operators or incumbents in the GSM space can bid for a maximum of two blocks or 2.5 MHz of airwaves.
In the CDMA space, companies such as Sistema that lost its mobile permits can bid for a maximum of 3 blocks (3.75 MHz) in the 800 MHz band, while existing operators will be allowed to bid for only one block, the draft auction guidelines, the rules released by the department add.
AS for the existing operators, they can pay the auction determined price for the airwaves they hold in the 1800 MHz band and extend the tenure of this spectrum for an additional 20 years.
After paying this fee, mobile phone companies can also use these airwaves for offering any technology, this implies, the 1800 MHz band that is currently used for providing 2G services can be used for third and fourth generation offerings in the future.
"However, the period of 20 years will be subject to licensee acquiring unified licence on expiry of existing licence. The entry fee paid may be adjusted on pro-rata basis only on one occasion when the licensees convert their spectrum into liberalized spectrum," the auction guidelines say.
Companies like Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Uninor and Videocon have been closet watching the new rules. These companies have lost their 2G licences following the apex court’s decision.