India is likely to decide within a week revised rules for a pending 3G spectrum auction, including a possible increase in the base price, the telecoms minister said on Friday.
The auction of third-generation radio spectrum, which would allow firms to offer high-speed Internet and video downloads on mobile phones, was originally planned for January, but was delayed after high prices fetched by private telecoms companies for selling stake sales prompted a review of the floor price.
Television channel CNBC TV18 said on Friday the government had doubled the reserve price for the auction to 40.40 billion rupees ($838 million), citing news agency Press Trust of India.
The telecoms ministry last year set a base price of 20.20 billion rupees for pan-India 3G spectrum, but the finance ministry wanted the price doubled as it needed revenue to keep a lid on burgeoning fiscal deficit.
“We had a discussion with the prime minister and the finance minister. We discussed certain things,” telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja told reporters.
The finance ministry’s demand as also other proposals were being considered, he said without elaborating.
A cabinet committee of a ministers’ panel will announce the final decision, hopefully within a week, he said.