No delay on India's 3G auction, says official

India's auction for 3G wireless spectrum is not expected to be delayed, a government spokesman, quoted by a Reuters report, said.

The report also said India's telecoms ministry has begun the process of appointing an agency to conduct a global auction for the wireless spectrum.

The telecoms minister announced details of the auction on August 1 for services that will enable operators to provide facilities like fast internet access, video calls, games and a host of multimedia content on cell phones.

He said he expected the auction process to be completed by December.

But newspapers said the finance ministry had raised objections, saying it had not been consulted before the guidelines were issued, a mandatory step for government policies with fiscal implications.

'There is no question of not consulting with the finance ministry. We feel surprised that the finance ministry has raised such issues,' said Akshay Rout, additional director general at India's telecoms ministry, when contacted by Reuters.

'The request for proposal for appointing the agency that would conduct the auction has already been issued, which should suggest to you that the rollout is in motion.'

Rout, who is the authorised spokesman for the ministry, said a series of meetings had taken place between the two ministries ahead of the 3G policy announcement.

He also said, as per the finance ministry's suggestion, the telecoms ministry had deviated from the telecom regulator's proposal and had allowed foreign operators with prior experience in 3G to bid in the Indian auction process.