India rethinks spectrum auctions?

Posted on June 8, 2013  /  0 Comments

It appears that India’s Department of Telecom is rethinking auctions as the mechanism for assigning spectrum:

After failure of two rounds of airwave auction, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is now exploring pricing methods for fixed priced allotment of spectrum, said an internal note. An ‘expanded committee’ will ascertain ‘concept, operational parameters and conditions’ for a market-related process for giving away spectrum, said the note reviewed by ET.

My first reaction was that this would be contrary to the sweeping ruling given on the 2G auction by the courts, but it appears there is wiggle room:

However, in September last year, the Supreme Court had said in its opinion on queries raised by the government through a Presidential Reference that auction was not the only way to allocate natural resources like spectrum. Further, maximising of revenues were secondary to serving the public good with regard to awarding allocating natural resources.

Full report.

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