Revenue from 3G spectrum auction nears Rs.45,000 crore

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New Delhi: India on May 5 concluded 128 rounds of an auction to award spectrum for third generation (3G) telecom services in the country, with the government’s provisional revenue from the sale of airwaves nearingthe Rs.45,000 crore ($9.9 billion) mark.

At the end of the 22nd day of the auction, which began April 9, the provisional winning price for a pan-India licence crossed the Rs.11,000 crore-mark. It stood at Rs.11,047.04 crore, up 215.63 percent from the Rs.3,500 crore reserve price.

Slots for three-four players are available in each of the 22 circles into which the country has been geographically divided for the 3G services, which will facilitate much faster connectivity than now and enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.

Nine telecom companies – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata eleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommuni-cations – are participating in the online auction.

The government has already given Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) spectrum for 3G services on the condition that they pay the same licence fee as would be levied on private players after the auction.

Along with the fee that will be eventually paid by the two state-run enterprises for the licences, the government will provisionally get at least Rs.44,566.17 crore from the auction.

The government hopes to rake in over Rs.55,000 crore from the 3G auction and the rolling out of broadband wireless internet services in the country.
The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days after the auction and the successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from September 1.

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