NEW DELHI, Dec 31 - India is planning to auction third-generation wireless radio spectrum by mid-February, about a month later than had been scheduled, a senior government official told Reuters on Thursday.

January 25 will be the last date for applications. Auctions would start around Feb 10-12, the official, who did not want to be named, said, adding that the new schedule should be released later in the day.

The auction, which would allow mobile firms to offer high speed Internet services on phones, has been deferred several times before.

The auction had been due to start from Jan. 14. The telecoms minister said last week that schedule would be met, but the government is yet to seek applications.

Analysts expect phone companies to spend between $1-$1.5 billion on all-India 3G spectrum, while building the high-speed networks will cost billions of dollars more. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by John Mair)