Mumbai, Delhi neck-and-neck in 3G spectrum auction
Sunday, 25 April 2010, 05:08 Hrs | 1 Comments
New Delhi: India has concluded 76 rounds of spectrum auction for third generation telecom services in the country, with Mumbai giving tough competition to Delhi and attracting bids at around 1,080 crore. At the end of the 13th day of the auction, which began April 9, the provisional winning price for a nationwide licence stood at 7,900.48 crore, up 125.7 percent from 3,500 crore reserve price fixed by the government. Though Delhi remained the favourite among bidders, attracting the highest bid at 1,083.27 crore, Mumbai did not lag much in the race, according to data available on the website of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The country's financial capital received bids at 1,079.93 crore, a jump of nine percent over 989.48 crore bid it attracted Friday. Besides, two additional players were still in the fray for the three available slots in the service area. As against this, the provisional winning price for Delhi jumped only five percent from 1,030.72 crore it received Friday and only one additional player was in the fray against three slots available. While Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa managed to attract players, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh did not receive even a single bid, the data showed. The 3G services will facilitate much faster connectivity than what is available now and enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange. Slots for three-four players are available in each of the 22 circles into which the country has been geographically divided for these services. The government has already given Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) spectrum for 3G services on the condition that they will 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 31,964.84 crore from the auction. This is on the presumption that every available slot gets filled at the provisionally approved price. The government hopes to rake in 45,000-50,000 crore from the ongoing auctions to award radio frequency spectrum for 3G telecom services and for rolling out broadband wireless internet services. Nine telecom companies -- Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications -- are participating in the online auction. This is a simultaneous auction for 22 circles over a secure website. At each round, the price is hiked from between 10-1 percent based on demand. The auction is being held from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. on all days, except Sundays and national holidays. The process will end only when the demand is equal to the number of slots available in each circle. According to a senior DoT official, it may take another two weeks for the auction to be completed. The bid data, including the winning companies' names, will be made public after the auction's completion and approval by the government. The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days after the auction. The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from Sep 1.