Cabinet approves phase III auction of private FM radio channels

The union cabinet on Friday gave its nod for phase-III auctions of private FM radio channels. It also cleared migration/renewal of licences from Phase II to III for 135 channels in 69 cities.

The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for the conduct of FM Phase-Ill auctions and migration (renewal) of Private FM Radio licenses from Phase-II to Phase-Ill in 69 existing cities for 135 channels.

The auctions will be conducted on an ascending e-auction basis.

The migration or renewal will be done on payment of a fee determined through a TRAI-recommended formula, which bases the fee on market prices discovered through the phase III auction.

As of now, with the implementation of two phases of private FM Radio, namely Phase I (1999-2000) and Phase II (2005-06), there are 243 private FM channels in operation in 86 cities of the country, spanning 26 states and 3 union territories.

''The rollout of the first batch of FM Radio Phase III auctions will provide more channels to listeners, with richer content in 69 existing cities,'' said the official statement.

The auction process will add an estimated revenue of over Rs550 crore to the national exchequer on successful auctions of all proposed channels. Besides, it will beget the amount realised through the migration process which is dependent on the TRAI recommended formula, where migration fee is linked with the discovery of market prices through the FM Radio Phase III auction.