Bharti Questions 3G Auction Format

5:00 PM -- In a statement issued following the conclusion of India's 3G spectrum auction, in which it secured slots in 13 of the country's 22 circles for a grand total of 123 billion Indian rupees (US$2.66 billion), Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) alleged that the auction format prevented it meeting its expectation of achieving a pan-India 3G footprint.

"We would like to point out that the auction format and severe spectrum shortage along with ensuing policy uncertainty, drove the prices beyond reasonable levels. As a result, we could not achieve our objective of pan India 3G footprint in this round,” stated the carrier.

Is it a case of sour grapes? Or has the company decided it's now going to publicly question all telecom sector policies? (See Bharti Airtel Slams Indian Regulator.)

Though industry sources were vocal about how the auction format has helped the government raise a significant amount of money -- much more than it expected -- none of the operators had openly voiced displeasure. (See India's 3G Auction Ends, Raises $14.6B.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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