Country’s top telecom operators Vodafone and Bharti Airtel on Wednesday applied for taking part in the spectrum auction scheduled for February 3, raising hopes that this round will see strong participation.

“Vodafone has filed the first application, followed by Airtel. We are expecting most of the companies to apply,” an official source said.

Wednesday is the last date for submitting the applications and companies have the option to withdraw them by January 27.

In the last round of auction held in March 2013, none of the GSM operators had bid for radiowaves, citing high reserve or base price.

The applications come amidst uncertainty on a number of issues such as spectrum usage charge, merger and acquisition guidelines, spectrum sharing and its trading.

Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui said on Wednesday that all issues will be resolved before auction.

The government is expecting a minimum of Rs 11,300 crore from the upcoming spectrum auction. It has set a revenue target of Rs 40,874.50 crore for this fiscal from the auction, including auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee.

About 403 megahertz of 2G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band and about 45 MHz of spectrum in the premium 900 MHz band is being put up for auction.

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