Instead, according to The Business Standard, the country's major mobile players, including Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), Reliance Communications Ltd. , Tata Teleservices Ltd. , and Vodafone India , are waiting until the last possible day, Friday, March 19, to submit their applications.
Of course, other operators might also apply. Aircel Ltd. might be a surprise bidder for a pan-India license, using the 84 billion Indian Rupees (US$1.84 billion) it gained from the sale of its mobile tower business to GTL Infrastructure Ltd.
Uninor has already made it clear it's not going to bid for pan-India license, though it, and other new entrants, are likely to bid for specific circles. Fierce bidding is expected in the metro service areas, known as "circles," which have more high-end customers with greater spending potential. (See A Guide to India's Telecom Market for a map of India's 22 telecom circles.)
The identities of the potential auction participants will be revealed when the ownership details of the initial applicants are published on March 23. Bidder ownership compliance certificates are due to be issued on March 26, and the pre-qualification of bidders will take place on March 30.
For those that qualify, a mock auction will take place on April 5 and 6, followed on April 9 by the start of the 3G spectrum auction. The separate auction for BWA spectrum, which is likely to be used for WiMax services, will start two days after the 3G auction has ended.
The successful bidders need to pay for their licenses within 10 days of the auction's end.
For those following the auction process, here's a reminder of the key details.
For more details on the exact spectrum to be allocated, the minutiae of the auction rules, the reserve prices, and so on, check out the DoT's Notice Inviting Applications.
— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading