After 34 days, India concluded its auction of airwaves for private players to start 3G telecom services in the country on May 19, with the Indian government set to gain a little under 700 billion rupees (£10.5 billion).
Vodafone’s Indian operation is one of the companies that will pay around 170 billion rupees (£2.5 billion), vastly surpassing the 35 billion rupees (£434.1 million) reserve price, for a pan-India licence according to officials. The state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, who have already been issued airwaves, will also have to pay the winner’s price.
Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications took part in the online auction that started on April 9. No single carrier won the high-speed 3G spectrum in all 22 circles up for bidding. Seven different carriers ended up winning spectrum.
The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days of the auction’s end. The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from September 1.
Slots for three to four players are available in the 22 circles into which the country has been geographically divided for the services, which facilitate faster connectivity and enable applications such as internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.
Bid data, including the winning companies’ names, will be made public only after the completion of the auction and approval by the government officials said, according to the Indo-Asian News Service.