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3G/HSPA

India 3G: Bharti Weighs In

6:50 AM -- India's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), has filed its application to participate in the country's 3G spectrum auction.

The carrier, which has more than 120 million customers, tells Light Reading Asia it has applied to bid for spectrum in the 2.1GHz band in all of India's 22 telecom service circles. (See A Guide to India's Telecom Market for a map of India's circles.)

The reserve price for a pan-India 3G license is 35 billion Indian Rupees (US$769 million).

The move follows news that Aircel Ltd. , the country's seventh largest mobile player, is preparing a bid. (See India 3G: Aircel Preps Bid.)

Bids must be submitted by the end of Friday, March 19. To get all the main details about the 3G and BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum bidding process, check out our snapshot guide, India Watch: The Road to 3G.

The spectrum auction process was given a new twist Wednesday when Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) announced plans to bid for BWA spectrum, in the 2.3GHz band, to introduce TD-Long Term Evolution (LTE) to India. (See Qualcomm Unveils LTE Plans for India.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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