The bid for pan-India spectrum for 3G telephony today crossed Rs. 15,400 crore amid hopes that auction would be concluded in next 1-2 days as demand is excess only in Delhi along with few smaller circles.
The all-India bid at the end of 30th day of auction stood at Rs. 15,416.56 crore and the revenue to the government at this price would be Rs. 62,254 crore. The government had estimated a revenue of Rs. 35,000 crore from sale of both 3G radio waves and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum.
Among the metros and A category circles, the demand for spectrum is excess only in Delhi, for which last bid was Rs. 2,885.68 crore, and in some of the B and C category circles, indicating that the final price may be discovered in next one or two days.
When contacted, sources in the Department of Telecom (DoT) said that it should end in couple of days but it cannot be said with certainty as during the auction any player can come back and put in a bid for any of the eligible circles.
Mumbai continued to be the most expensive service area as its bid stood at Rs. 2,939.59 crore and the price may not go up further as the demand is in the negative zone.
The base price for a national 3G licence was fixed at a low Rs. 3,500 crore. The BWA spectrum auction will start only after completion of 3G auction.
Nine leading mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, RCom and Tatas, are up against one another to grab spectrum. The government is selling three blocks of spectrum in most of states and four slots in five states of Punjab, Bihar, Orissa, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
Telecom Minister A Raja had recently expressed confidence that the government might garner up to Rs. 55,000 crore from the 3G and BWA spectrum auctions.
After the closure of auction for 3G, the government would start the auction for BWA for which as many as 11 operators are in the fray. The reserve price for BWA spectrum has been fixed at Rs. 1,750 crore and only two slots of 20 MHz each are on the block.
Third generation or 3G telephony allows subscribers to download data at high speed and stream videos on mobile phones. The radio waves are being auctioned across 22 circles and the bidding would be closed once the price is discovered in all the service areas simultaneously.