3G auction update

The bid for pan-India 3G spectrum crossed Rs 11,000 crore on Day 22 of the auction on Wednesday, assuring the government a revenue of over Rs 44,500 crore. According to the latest figures on the website of department of telecom (DoT), the pan-India 3G bid touched Rs 11,045 crore with Mumbai being the costliest circle at Rs 1,909.18 crore. DoT, however, said that operators would be asked to bid for ‘B’ and ‘C’ category circles also after another four rounds of the bidding. This means, the auction for 3G spectrum could get over in the next 2-3 days. With all leading mobile operators, such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Idea, Reliance Communications and Tatas, among others, in the fray for procuring spectrum for pan-India operations, the bid may go up further in the next few rounds. The government had originally estimated to collect Rs 35,000 crore from sale of spectrum (airwaves) for the 3G mobile services and broadband wireless access (BWA). With BWA spectrum auction yet to start, the total collections could be much more than originally estimated. Telecom minister A Raja had stated earlier that the government may garner around Rs 50,000-55,000 crore by selling 3G airwaves and BWA spectrum. In all, nine mobile operators are up against each other for spectrum for 3G services, which allows subscribers to download hi-speed data and stream videos on mobile phones.

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