India's 3G spectrum auction Day One update

9 Apr

The auction of 3G spectrum begun today in India and has witnessed competitive bidding from carriers for most of the 22 circles for which 3G spectrum is being auctioned. At the end of day one, five rounds of bidding were completed with circles Delhi emerging as the most expensive circle with the winning bid of Rs 373.29 crores at the end of the fifth round. Delhi has spectrum for three private carriers and there are only three carriers bidding successfully at the moment. The bid price for Delhi will increase by 3.73 crore in the next round.

While some circles like Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, have one excess bidder than for which the spectrum is available, there are others like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa and North East, among others, that do not have enough bidders. No one, at the moment, is bidding for Orissa.

This picture might change when the bidding approaches its final stages for key circles, when the bidders will get a better idea of the cost of spectrum acquisition in these circles, and then they might bid for the circles where there seems to be no demand at the moment.

The Department of Telecommunications has not revealed the names of who’s bidding for which circles but has released the status of the auction, which can be seen here. Nine carriers were in the fray for 3G auctions – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications. Of these, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular and Aircel were bidding for a Pan-India 3G license while the rest were interested in certain circles.

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