Next telecom spectrum auctions to be finalised by September: Minister

New Delhi: Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha on Friday said the next round of spectrum auctions for telecom operators will be finalised by September -- and it will be the largest by far with an overall base price of $84 billion. "Spectrum will be auctioned with all fairness. By September, the auctions will be finalised. We are looking at Rs 5.66 lakh crore -- that's the reserve price," Sinha, who holds independent charge of the ministry, said in his first press conference after assuming office. "If we get more, then well and good," said Sinha, also a minister of state for railways. As per a cabinet's approval last month, more than 2,300 MHz of airwaves will be on the block for telecom operators in seven bands -- 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz.  Based on the pan-India reserve price, the mop-up can be as much as $84 billion, as against $17 billion the last time. The previous round had seen 470.75 MHz on the block. In the cabinet meeting last month, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official nod was given for the reserve price, as also for the auction norms but a decision on the spectrum usage charges, which has evoked strong opinions from stakeholders, was deferred. The issue has been referred back to the telecom watchdog and will be taken up after its response.