Extended 3G auction to be delayed… futher… again!

By Mihir Patkar | Published on 05 Oct 2009
Extended 3G auction to be delayed… futher… again!
3G auction India
 
Here’s the most difficult thing to understand in India’s much-criticised, long-awaited and constantly-delayed plan to get 3G services: Is it really easier to send a robotic probe almost 3,85,000 kilometres into space and take photographs of Earth’s only satellite, than to get high-speed mobile Internet access right here on terra firma?
 
The absolutely ridiculous 3G auction, which was slated to be held on December 7, is all set to be postponed yet again, probably to 2010. After asking those in the Digit office who were surprised by this move to yell ‘Aye’, the faint buzzing of a fly could be audibly heard, never mind the resounding clangs of dropping pins.
 
The reason this time? As usual, it’s two government factions that can’t seem to work together! The Department of Telecom (DoT) apparently can’t play nice with the Defence Ministry, and the consumer is left suffering yet again. 
 
The Economic Times reports that the DoT was slated to release the Information Memorandum (IM), a key document containing all details of the auction – including availability of radio frequencies across circles, policy changes, the rules of the auction and mode of payment among several other issues — to all potential bidders by September 29, but has failed to do so. The reason is that the Defence Ministry has refused to adhere to the timelines specified in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the communications ministry and the armed forces for the vacation of these 3G airwaves.
 
This has resulted in the October 8 deadline for submission of questions for pre-bid conference also being postponed. All other timelines, such as those for submission of bids and mock auctions, are also likely to be changed, which may push the December bid plan to early next year.
 
For those who would like to read details of the finger-pointing and loophole-citing excuses, here’s the entire ET report. We’re just sick of it now.
 
Most journalists are inherently pessimistic, so we really didn’t think any better would come from this 3G farce, which has kept us entertained for over a year now. But by the looks of it, the government might just succeed in disappointing the utterly rock-bottom expectations of reporters too. Bravo, sirs, bravo!
 
Tags:
DoT Department of Telecom Defence Ministry 3G 3G auction 3G delay ISRO 3G auction delay India 3G auction
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