3G and WiMAX bid applicants given regulatory nod

31 Mar 2010

India’s Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) has cleared all nine companies that applied to enter the auction for 3G spectrum to participate in the sale process, the Economic Times is reporting. In addition it is understood that the MCIT had also approved submissions from all eleven firms that plan to submit bids in the WiMAX spectrum sale that will be held on completion of the 3G sale. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has also revealed that six of the country’s largest mobile network operators – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCOM), Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Aircel – are expected to place bids for pan-India 3G spectrum, while three other operators – Etisalat, STel and Videocon – will only apply for spectrum in select circles.

The regulator has also stated that Qualcomm and HFCL Infotel, both of which were confirmed as having submitted applications for the wireless broadband auction earlier this month, will bid for pan-India WiMAX spectrum, while Augere, Tikona Digital and Spice Communications will only apply for certain regions.

As reported by CommsUpdate last month, the 3G auction will commence on 9 April, with the base price having now been set at INR35 billion (USD750 million), and the government will offer three blocks of 3G spectrum in 17 of the country’s 22 circles, with four concessions up for grabs in the remaining five telecoms regions. Meanwhile, the WiMAX reserve price has been set at INR17.5 billion, and the auction will begins two days after the 3G sale is closed.