New Delhi: The government plans to approach the Supreme Court seeking extension of the August 31 deadline for auction of telecom spectrum as it plans to begin airwaves sale on November 12 and allocate them to winners in January, 2013.
An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) decided to seek an extension of the August 31 deadline set by the Supreme Court for auctioning the spectrum vacated from February cancellation of the 122 'faulty' licences.
The government may ask the apex court time till November to begin the auction.
"Auctioneer has given us schedule... we will approach the Supreme Court to place before them the fact what government has done. Also, we will place before them that in terms of this schedule, it is not possible to conduct auction by August 31," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after the EGoM meet.
As per the schedule drawn by Department of Telecommunications (DoT), bidding is expected to start on November 12.
"Number of days taken for the auction to complete would depend upon actual bidders' behaviour. Hence, DoT tentatively thinks that it will be able to assign spectrum to winners by January 30, 2013," an official said.
In 2010, the 3G auction was completed in 34 days after completion of 183 rounds of bidding and BWA auction took 16 days to end after 117 rounds of bidding.
Yesterday, the Department of Telecom selected Times Internet Ltd (TIL) as the spectrum auctioneer.
The EGoM, headed by Finance Minister P Chidambaram, today discussed the schedule which DoT has prepared in consultation with TIL. Sibal said the government will file an interim application before the court and request it to consider the facts as stated.

Sibal said: "As you know, (the validity of) licences has been extended till September 7. So, we will go back to the Supreme Court with interim application (IA) and request it to consider the fact as stated in the application".
Sources said that IA will be filed before the apex court within a week.
As per the schedule in works, DoT will issue Information Memorandum (IM) by August 27 which will carry all details of spectrum auction.
The DoT is likely to issue Notice Inviting Application, which forms the basis of contract between government and spectrum winners, on October 1. Interested bidders will be given eight days time to submit applications.
The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has finalised Rs 14,000 crore as the minimum price for 5 Mhz spectrum in 1800 Mhz band, and Rs 18,200 crore for 5 Mhz in the 800 Mhz band.
The base price approved by the Cabinet was 22 per cent lower than Rs 18,000 crore suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. It is, however, seven times higher for than the price new GSM companies had paid in 2008 under the then Telecom Minister A Raja.
Industry has termed this price very high and rating agency Fitch said it expects most of the telecom companies, whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court, will not participate in the forthcoming spectrum auction.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices reiterated to keep the minimum price of airwaves for pan-India CDMA services at Rs 1,658 crore for which the new rates are over ten times high compared to the amount it paid for licences in 2008.


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