New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday set the auction base price of second-generation radio airwaves at 140 billion (14k crore)rupees for five units of airwaves in all of India's 22 telecoms zones, said a minister who declined to be named.

The country is selling 2G airwaves for the first time through an open auction, after the Supreme Court said a 2008 grant process was flawed and ordered all 122 zonal permits awarded in that year to be revoked in September.

A ministerial panel had recommended setting the auction starting price either at 140 billion rupees or 150 billion rupees for 5 mega hertz of all-India airwaves, after the sector regulator's proposed price of 181.1 billion rupees was seen as too high and drew howls of protests from the industry.

The price is for airwaves in the 1800 MHz band, in which GSM-based mobile carriers operate.

For airwaves in the 800 MHz band, which is currently used by CDMA-technology based carriers such as the Indian unit of Russian conglomerate Sistema (SSAq.L), the cabinet set the starting price at 1.3 times the 1800 MHz band.

(Agencies)

Latest News from Business News Desk