India 3G Auction: Day 21

8:00 AM -- Defying expectations that it would wrap up last weekend, the Indian 3G spectrum auction is showing no signs of coming to an end, with the bid price for a pan-India license reaching 107.49 billion Indian rupees (US$2.39 billion) by the end of Tuesday's bidding, more than treble the base price of INR35 billion ($779 million).

The auction, which attracted participation from nine carriers, began on April 9, since when there have been 122 rounds of bidding. (See India 3G: And They're Off! and Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions.)

The ongoing and unexpectedly high bidding means the government, which originally targeted a return of INR350 billion ($7.79 billion) from the 3G and BWA (broadband wireless access) auctions, now believes it might raise INR550 billion ($12.24 billion). (See India 3G: What's That Spectrum Worth?)

The successful bidders are likely to be handed their spectrum in September this year, according to the schedule released by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) earlier this year. (See India Watch: The Road to 3G.)

For further details of the 3G auction bids, check out the DoT's auction results archive.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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