3G auction: Bidding closes with expected revenue of over Rs 677 billion

NEW DELHI: With the government concluding the auction for 3G in the 34th day, the total revenue to the exchequer is expected to be Rs 677,189.5 million.

The pan-India figure at the end of 183 rounds today was Rs 167,505.8 million. However, the Communications and Information Technology Ministry said the auction results are provisional and subject to approval by the Government. Frequencies in MHz were also allocated to the successful bidders.

The government had hoped to collect Rs 35,000 million after auctioning the airwaves for both 3G services and broadband, even as the bidding for the latter is expected to commence on 22 May. Thus, the pan-India licence has gone up by nearly 378.58 per cent over the base price.
However, no single player won a pan-India licence for 3G services and the number of top bidders was three or four at each of the 22 service centres. With the exception of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, and Jammu and Kashmir which had four successful bidders, the other 18 service centres had three successful bidders.

The successful bidders were Bharti Airtel (13 service centres), Reliance (12 centres), Aircel (11 centres), Idea Cellular (11 centres), Tata Teleservices (nine centres), Vodafone Essar (eight centres), and S Tel (three centres). Interestingly, Etisalat DB Telecom and Videocon Telecommunications which also participated in the auction could not win a single circle.

Delhi had the highest bid of Rs 33,169.3 million each from Vodaphone, Bharti and Reliance while Mumbai had a bid of Rs 32,470.7 million each from Reliance, Vodafone and Bharti. The frequencies allocated are in the range of 1959-1964 MHz. 
1969-1974 MHz, and 1974-1979 MHz. Karnataka came next with Rs.15,799.1 million, followed by Tamil Nadu with Rs.14649.4 million.

Ministry sources said Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd which have already been issued airwaves for 3G services will also have to pay this winner‘s price, collectively pegged at Rs.167,505.8 million. Jammu and Kashmir had the lowest bid at Rs.303 million.
The auction was held on all days starting 9 April except Sundays and national holidays.

The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days from now and will be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from Sep 1.

Global investment bank Rothschild and telecom auction services provider dot.econ advised the government on the auctions.

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