DoT fixes Rs. 3,500 crore as reserve price
Almost all leading private telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, have filed their applications for the 3G spectrum auction that will be held next month. Similarly, Etisalat DB, a joint venture between UAE-based Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunications Corporation) and Swan Telecom, will also be bidding for spectrum to offer advanced mobile services.
With Friday (March 19) being the last date for applying for 3G spectrum auction, Aircel and Idea Cellular are also likely to join the bidding that will begin on April 9. All the major players are likely to bid for pan-India licence. The Department of Telecommunications, which has fixed a reserve price of Rs. 3,500 crore for pan-India spectrum, is targeting over Rs. 20,000 crore revenues from the 3G spectrum auction. Similarly, for the wireless broadband access (BWA or WiMAX) spectrum, so far four players — Tata Communications, Qualcomm, Tikona and Vodafone Essar — have put in their applications. Interestingly, the Tata Group and Vodafone are bidding for both 3G and BWA spectrum. Deadline for filing applications for BWA spectrum is also Friday (March 19). A couple of more players are expected to join the BWA spectrum auction for which the reserve price is Rs. 1,750 crore and only two slots are available. For 3G, DoT will be selling spectrum to three players across the nation except for a few circles where four players will be allowed. According to the Notice Inviting Applications, only Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will have four private players offering 3G services. The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on commercial basis from September 1, 2010.