A somewhat limited turnout for the pre-bid conference held by India's Department of Telecom for offering clarifications prior to India's much-awaited, much-delayed 3G Auctions. Issues were raised vehemently throughout the day, with TV Ramachandran of the GSM carrier body COAI, asking twice as many questions (well, almost) as the rest of the attendees. Referring to the notice detailing the 3G auction plans which is expected to be released on the 8th of December, Ramachandran pointed out that there are issues that haven't yet been resolved: "On the 8th you're dealing the cards, but we can't play blind", he said, adding that "Suppose the government comes out with a new policy on mergers and acquisitions. The game changes and what do we do them?" The TRAI is believed to be preparing to release recommendations on M&A on the 18th of December. At the conference, carriers raised issues about lack of clarity in 2G spectrum policy, different number slots of spectrum being auctioned in different circles, the governments outlook on competing, more advanced technology like LTE, as well as issues with the auction process. At the same time, carriers expect the auction to go through this year, because they believe that fiscal compulsion and the need to raise funds is forcing the governments hand. Also overheard: "This is action replay of last years pre-bid conference. We don't want to meet at the same place for same thing next year." Issues raised at the pre-bid conference: -- The Queue For 2G Spectrum, Slots &…
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