India's telecoms spectrum auction to proceed as scheduled: official

NEW DELHI Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:33am EST

NEW DELHI Jan 15 (Reuters) - India's telecommunications spectrum auction due to start on Feb. 3 will proceed as scheduled, Telecoms Secretary M.F. Farooqui said on Wednesday.

The deadline for companies to submit interest to participate in the auction is Wednesday, but the government is yet to take a decision on a proposal to reduce the annual fee carriers pay for using airwaves.

Farooqui said he was hopeful of resolving the pending issues, including the annual spectrum fee, before the auction begins next month.

The government hopes to raise at least $1.8 billion from the auction, crucial in its efforts to rein in India's budget deficit. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)