Phase III of FM Expansion
In India the third phase of FM expansion in underway in the country.
India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has responded to queries raised by operators during the pre-bid conference of the first batch of frequencies for FM radios.One of the main issues is the 15 percent cap imposed by the government on each bidding phase.
In the first batch of auctions for 135 frequencies, the point raised by bigger operators like Big FM and Red FM was that they would not be able to competitively participate in the auctions unless they surrendered existing frequencies, which was counterproductive.
But the MIB has turned down the request stating that the limit was prescribed in FM Phase III policy notified by the government in 2011.
It also rejected the suggestion to remove the 1 per cent increase in Clock Round Price where bidders equal frequencies and to waive the 3 year lock-in period which prevents the largest Indian shareholder of an existing license holder from changing the ownership pattern of the company through transfer of shares.
Another request by certain players to have a single-stage auction instead of the two-stage process involving channel allocation and frequency allocation was also turned down.
A suggestion to give pan-India networks preference in choosing frequency in other cities, as their frequency is a part of their brand identity, was also not accepted.