Bharti Airtel submits bid for 3G spectrum

The government is selling three slots of spectrum across the nation with the exception of a few states where four slots will be on offer. The reserve price for pan-India spectrum has been fixed at Rs3,500 crore

India's largest private telecom company Bharti Airtel Ltd on Thursday submitted its bid for 3G spectrum, the auction for which starts from 9th April, reports PTI.

According to the schedule, tomorrow is the last day for putting in applications to participate in the auction.

The government is selling three slots of spectrum across the nation with the exception of a few states where four slots will be on offer. The reserve price for pan-India spectrum has been fixed at Rs3,500 crore.

According to the notice inviting applications (NIA) for 3G spectrum auction, of the 22 circles only five states—Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir—will have four private players.

3G mobile services will allow high-speed content download and broadband services. When contacted, Bharti officials confirmed that an application has been put in for participating in the forthcoming 3G spectrum auction.

The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from 1 September 2010.

The auction of spectrum has been postponed several times as there was indecisiveness over the availability of spectrum and the number of operators to be allowed in each circle.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) was at loggerheads with the defence ministry over the latter's reluctance to vacate the designated spectrum (air waves) for commercial use.

As per DoT's schedule, the last date for submission of applications is 19th March. The mock auction will take place on 5th and 6th April, followed by the final auction on 9 April 2010.

According to sources, Bharti Airtel will be bidding for a pan-India spectrum.

Other potential operators, including Vodafone-Essar, Tata Teleservices Ltd, Aircel and Reliance Communications Ltd are also likely to put in their applications by tomorrow.

The government expects to garner Rs35,000 crore from the sale of spectrum for 3G and Boradband Wireless Access (BWA). However, with the number of players reduced to three in most of the circles from the four planned earlier, the government may fall short of its target.
 

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