New Delhi, Sep 2 (Calcutta Tube) Making certain amendments to the licence terms, the government Wednesday allocated airwaves to private telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone and Idea Cellular to roll out the third generation (3G) mobile and broadband services in the country.
The operators have been allocated 3G spectrum in each circle they won in the auction that fetched the government over Rs.67,000 crore. As many as seven operators had successfully bid for the spectrum in the auction in May.
Under the amended licence terms, the service providers are authorized to use the spectrum for a period of 20 years from the date allocation.
The amended licence conditions allow an operator to offer 3G services to its subscribers till the validity of the spectrum even if its telecom licence expires before that.
Under the roll-out obligations, the government has asked the operators to cover at least 90 percent of the service areas in the metros within five years.
In case an operator fails to carry out the roll-out obligation, it shall be given an extension of one year by making a payment of 2.5 percent of the successful bid amount per quarter. However, even after that if the service provider fails, the spectrum will be withdrawn.
Also, in case of a merger of two or more companies, only one slot of spectrum will be retained and they will have to surrender the remaining 3G spectrum blocks in that service area.
Public sector BSNL and MTNL, which were allotted 3G spectrum in advance on the condition that they would pay whatever was the highest bid amount, have launched the service in Delhi, Mumbai and 463 other cities and towns.