The government has capped the number of private players which can bid for 3G services in Mumbai and Delhi, a decision analysts said would make the bidding aggressive. Releasing the information memorandum, a document for the prospective bidders, the department of telecom said three players (including MTNL) can bid for 3G spectrum in Delhi while four (including MTNL) can do so in Mumbai. Analysts said if the number of players are reduced in key circles, the bidding could turn very aggressive and impact prices. However, an operator said more competition would have been desirable. Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director general T V Ramachandran said he welcomed the announcement as it has stuck to the time schedule. He, however, declined to comment on the number of players. In the north-east and Rajasthan, there will no auction for 3G services because there is no spectrum. Each operator will be given 5mhz to start the service. The all-India reserve price for 3G spectrum is Rs 2,020 crore. The document lists the eligibility conditions, schedule and further terms for the players. According to the guidelines, 3G auction will take place on the 2.1 Ghz band and new entrants are free to enter the market. However, the licensee should be an Indian company and the applicant for licence (along with promoters) should have net worth of at least Rs 1,380 crore to operate in any of the 22 areas. The duration of licence is 20 years and can be extended by 10 years.The government has called for a pre-bid conference with the prospective private bidders of 3G spectrum auction on December 23, and announced that the online auction will take place on January 15 next.
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