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3G/HSPA

India 3G: Bidding for Glory

After four days of bidding in India's 3G spectrum auction, the price of a pan-India license had reached 45.8 billion Indian Rupees (US$1.04 billion), nearly 31 percent above the base price of INR35 billion (US$792 million).

There are three pan-India licenses up for grabs in the auction, while state-owned operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) share a fourth. (See India Watch: The Road to 3G and Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions.)

Of the nine bidders for 3G spectrum, six -- Aircel Ltd. , Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), Idea Cellular Ltd. , Reliance Communications Ltd. , Tata Teleservices Ltd. , and Vodafone India -- are hoping to win pan-India licenses.

By the time the 3G and following BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum auctions are completed, the government hopes to have raised more than $10 billion. (See India 3G: And They're Off!)

Perhaps surprisingly, the bidding for the Gujarat circle (service area) spectrum has been the highest, at nearly INR4.6 billion ($104 million), exceeding even the bidding in the major metro circles. Five of the nine auction participants have placed bids for the Gujarat spectrum. (For more on India's circles, see A Guide to India's Telecom Market.)

Among the metro circles, Delhi, which has four bidders, was the highest at INR43.8 billion ($99 million), followed by Mumbai at nearly INR41.7 billion ($943 million).

For the full fourth round bid details, check out the public report on the Department of Telecommunications Website.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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