Country’s largest private telecom firm Bharti Airtel on Thursday submitted its bid for 3G spectrum, auction for which starts from April 9.
According to the schedule, Friday is the last day for putting in applications to participate in the auction.
The government is selling three slots of spectrum across the nation with the exception of a few states where four slots will be on offer. The reserve price for pan-India spectrum has been fixed at Rs. 3,500 crore.
According to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for 3G spectrum auction, of the 22 circles only five states — Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir — will have four private players.
The 3G mobile services will allow high-speed content download and broadband services. When contacted, Bharti officials confirmed that an application has been put in for participating in the forthcoming 3G spectrum auction.
The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on commercial basis from September 1, 2010.
The auction of spectrum has been postponed several times as among other things there was indecisiveness over the availability of spectrum and the number of operators to be allowed in each circle.
The Department of Telecom was at loggerheads with the Defence Ministry over the latter’s reluctance to vacate the designated spectrum (air waves) for commercial use.
As per DoT’s schedule, last date for submission of applications is March 19. The mock auction will take place on April 5 and 6, followed by the final auction on April 9, 2010.
According to sources, Bharti will be bidding for pan-India spectrum.
Other potential operators, including Vodafone-Essar, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and RCom are also likely to put in their applications by tomorrow.
The government expects to garner Rs 35,000 crore from the sale of spectrum for 3G and Boradband Wireless Access (BWA).
However, with the number of players reduced to 3 in most of the circles from 4 planned earlier, the target may fall short.