India 3G: Aircel Preps Bid

1:55 PM -- Indian mobile operator Aircel Ltd. , the country's seventh largest player, with about 35 million customers, looks set to submit a 3G spectrum auction application before the week is out, reports The Economic Times. (See India Ends 2009 on a Mobile High.)

The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 19, when the country's other main privately held operators -- Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), Reliance Communications Ltd. , Vodafone India , Tata Teleservices Ltd. , and Idea Cellular Ltd. -- are expected to submit their applications. The country's two state-owned operators, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) , aren't participating in the auction as they are already guaranteed 3G spectrum. (See India Watch: The Road to 3G.)

India's spectrum auction process was given an extra buzz today when Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) announced its application to participate in the BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum auction, and, if successful, use that spectrum to build a TD-LTE network with local partners. (See Qualcomm Unveils LTE Plans for India, So Who's Pals With Qualcomm?, and India's WiMax Camp Wants Intel's Support.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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