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 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The oft-delayed sale of Indian 3G spectrum has finally been concluded, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced, revealing that the auction raised more than double the expected amount for the government. After 34 days of bidding, seven of the nine operators that had successfully applied to take part in the sale process came away with 3G licences, although no single operator was able to lay claim to a pan-India concession, with the most that any cellco managed to win being frequencies in 13 of the country’s 22 telecoms circles.

Three of the participants – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Aircel – acquired 2x5MHz paired spectrum in 13 circles, although due to the manner of the bidding the trio paid significantly different amounts for their respective concessions, with licence prices decided on a circle-by-circle basis. Bharti’s 13 licence areas will cost it INR122.95 billion (USD2.66 billion), the highest paid by any of the seven 3G auction winners, while Aircel will pay just over half of that, INR64.99 billion, for its 13 licences; RCOM meanwhile will be charged INR85.85 billion. Idea Cellular bagged the next highest number of circles – eleven – paying INR57.69 billion, while both Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Vodafone Essar will be permitted to offer third-generation services in nine circles, paying INR58.64 billion and INR116.18 billion respectively for their concessions. STel, which only launched 2G services in December 2009, rounded out the successful bidders, claiming three circles for a total of INR731 million. The two operators that came away empty-handed were Etisalat and Videocon.

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Source: TeleGeography