Nine set to contest 3G auctions; WiMAX sale gets eleven bidders

22 Mar 2010

A total of nine operators have submitted applications to bid in the upcoming 3G auction process in India, while eleven companies will look to acquire WiMAX spectrum, the Financial Express reports. The nine to have applied to take part in the 3G auction, which begins on 9 April, are: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Tata Teleservices (TTSL), Etisalat, STel, Videocon, Reliance Communications (RCOM), Idea Cellular and Aircel. The sale process for WiMAX concessions is scheduled to begin two days after the close of the 3G auction, and the eleven bidders will be: Tikona Digital, Qualcomm, Tata Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Spice Communications, Augere, HFC and RCOM.

It is thought that the decision by the government to only award 5MHz of spectrum in the 2100MHz band to the winners of the 3G auction has prompted some of the larger players to also bid for wireless broadband spectrum. Such a move would allow operators to avoid choosing whether to offer voice or data services should they win 3G frequencies; it is widely expected that 3G spectrum will almost exclusively be used for voice services, while WiMAX will most likely be used for data services, such as video streaming.